City OKs extension of job goals for bank

The Elk River City Council has approved a two-year extension for The Bank of Elk River to meet wage and job goals outlined in an agreement with the city.
The bank had entered into a Tax Abatement and Business Subsidy Agreement with the city in April 2006 for renovation and construction of a 20,000-square-foot expansion of the downtown bank. As part of the deal, the bank agreed to retain 63 employees and create 20 full-time jobs by September 2009. Under the agreement the bank is eligible to receive tax abatment for a portion of renovation costs up to $300,000. It has received $78,573 so far.
The bank had created 10 full-time jobs as of September 2009, and received a two-year extension then, to September 2011.
Elk River Director of Economic Development Annie Deckert said the bank eliminated 10 positions at the downtown office in 2011 and now has 59 full-time and eight part-time employees at that location.
In a Nov. 16 letter to the city, Bill LaVigne, the bank’s chief operating officer, said job creation for the bank in the next two years is largely dependent on the rate of recovery the Elk River community realizes.
“As a community bank, our successes and struggles mirror those of the businesses and communities we directly serve,” LaVigne wrote. “We are hopeful that the years to come will be prosperous not only for the bank, but for the entire Elk River community. Job creation will be part of that prosperity.”
The council voted unanimously to approve a two-year extension of the job and wage goals.
Deckert said a state official told her such extensions have become fairly common, given the state of the economy.