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Move idea nets discussion

By Staff | Jul 6, 2018

An idea for some Rugby organizations to move and consolidate into a larger space was a topic of discussion at a Rugby City Council meeting Monday evening.

The idea had garnered controversy prior to its discussion.

An idea for the Rugby Job Development Authority and the Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau to move to a larger space had been discussed at a regular meeting of the JDA. A possible location discussed had been a space in the First International Bank & Trust building in Rugby. No decision had been made nor action taken at the time.

Representatives of the JDA, CVB, and local banks met with the council to discuss the idea.

Craig Johnson, of Merchants Bank, said that he was excited for Jessica Brossart and Darylanna Durkee as directors of the JDA and Chamber/CVB, respectively; and that in the past the JDA had an office in the Merchants Bank basement. Johnson said he felt the organizations renting a space within a financial institution’s building could present a conflict of interest.

“I don’t think any bank [would] want a conflict of interest,” said Johnson.

Both Kyle Nelson, of Bremer Bank, and Sandy Wolf, of Ramsey National Bank, echoed Johnson in their preference for the organizations to be in a neutral location.

Tanner Johnson, of FIB&T, who is also the chair of the JDA board, said he had abstained from the discussion and had expressed disappointment that banks with representation on the JDA board did not “speak up” when the idea was discussed.

Daunne Heilman, vice president of the JDA board, said the JDA board was just given a “bit” of information and the idea was at “incubated” stages. Heilman said the board felt they did their job.

City Attorney Bill Hartl asked what the cost savings would be for the move. Brossart said the move would save over $2,000 per year. Hartl said there would potentially be an appearance of conflict of interest and that the savings would not be worth the moving expenses or debate.

Brossart said there would be a need for the JDA to modernize and there was a “lot more to the story, a lot more to discuss.”

Roger Sitter, of the Geographical Center Historical Society, expressed both surprise and disappointment in the proposed idea. Sitter said if the Chamber/CVB were to move it would be a “severe blow” to the Prairie Village Museum’s budget.

Heilman asked if the idea was something the council would decide on that night.

“We’re not the JDA,” said Mayor Susan Steinke, adding the council would not decide for the JDA or other parties. Steinke also stressed that the organizations should avoid conflicts of interest.

Hartl said he encouraged collaboration between the organizations and that if the organizations were to change locations they should “come back with specifics.”

CVB President Cory Geiszler said the CVB board had made no decision to move at the time.

Other actions

– The council discussed in relation to the Finance committee report a proposal from Prairie Village Museum Executive Director Stephanie Steinke for a cost share split five ways for three billboards advertising the city of Rugby. The billboards would be located near Minot, Grand Forks and Carrington, and the cost would be $1,400 per month.

Hartl said he didn’t know if the cost could be considered a necessary expense; that the city is a “government entity” not a “piggy bank”; and that the Finance committee should not approve it.

– The council approved abatement applications for Lore Tuff and Frank Schumacker.

– The council approved a Class B (package store) liquor/beer license application for the Geographical Center Historical Society for North Dakota wines to be sold in the Prairie Village Museum gift shop.

– The council approved a local gaming permit application for the Rugby Boosters for Monday Night Football book pools.

– The council approved June meeting minutes, bills, financial statements and the Municipal Judge’s report.

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