GRAFTON, N.D. – The City of Grafton plans to hire an economic development/marketing director.

The City Council approved funding the position by a 5-1 vote at its Aug. 9, meeting, according to the Grafton City Council’s unofficial minutes. Grafton Mayor Chris West told the City Council before the vote that a strategic plan, which Praxis Strategy Group completed, indicated that Grafton needs to increase its housing and number of jobs, the minutes said.

West told the city council members that it was important to be progressive, and not reactive to the community’s and business district’s needs.

West also said at the meeting that the city may consider determining whether the Economic Development Committee should be reorganized. The mayor appoints the committee members, which is made up of seven men and women.

“Obviously, like every community in the United States, we need employees, we need more commerce, we need more business,” West said during a recent interview with the Grand Forks Herald. “We don’t have the staff on hand to seek that.”

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West believes Grafton has an opportunity to attract former residents back to the city

“A lot of things have changed over the last couple of years with COVID – there are a lot of people who live in larger communities who might want to move back," he said, noting that working remotely now is common.

The city hopes to have the job description for the economic development/marketing director completed by October, West said. The economic development/marketing director’s salary will be paid from the general fund and Grafton Economic Development.

A portion of the city’s 7.75% sales tax funds Grafton Economic Development. The state of North Dakota receives 5%,; Walsh County, 0.25%;. Community Development, 1.5%; Unity Health System in Grafton, 0.50%; and the city's flood reduction project, 0.50%.