Willmar City Council approves 2023 budget for Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC

The EDC budget includes a county tax levy of $578,000, which is a 3.69% increase over the 2022 county tax levy for the EDC.

Aaron Backman, executive director of the Willmar/Kandiyohi County Economic Development
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WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council has approved the 2023 Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission budget of $695,865, which is a 6.4% decrease from the 2022 budget of $743,475.

EDC Executive Director Aaron Backman informed the council on Oct. 3 that the EDC Joint Powers Board approved the budget at its July 28 meeting, and the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved the budget Sept. 6.

The majority of the EDC’s revenues, 83%, come from the county tax levy, and the remainder is from grants, loan payments and accrued interest, Backman said. In the 2023 budget, $578,000 will come from a county tax levy, which is a $22,000, or 3.69% increase from 2022.

In split 5-2 votes, Willmar City Council approved accepting a grant to construct an outdoor fitness court and applying for an Age-Friendly Minnesota Community grant.

Projected expenses for the EDC in 2023 total $693,280. “So, once again, the budget is balanced,” Backman said, noting this is his seventh year preparing the EDC budget. He also explained that the 2022 budget included some one-time state and local funding for assisting businesses and the county-wide housing study.

Backman received praise from Councilor Rick Fagerlie and Mayor Marv Calvin.


“I want to thank you, Aaron, for the job you do,” Fagerlie said. “You’ve really been busy the last few years.”

Noting that Backman brings a balanced budget each year and is very meticulous in his work, Calvin said, “Even when you get put on the spot, kind of like you were today, you have an answer that was not just an assumption, but it’s fact-filled. That speaks very highly, not only of the organization, but also in the work that you do.”

Calvin listed some of the projects the EDC has worked on in 2022, including a county-wide broadband initiative, bringing a new FedEx hub to the industrial park, increasing housing with the Unique Opportunities and The Preserve on 24th apartment complexes, seeking grants to increase the production of Epitopix, and bringing the Brunswick Boat manufacturing facility to Willmar.

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Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: or phone at 320-214-4339.
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