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Special programs top JDA agenda

By Staff | Dec 7, 2018

Special programs and the budgets to fund them topped the list of items discussed at the Rugby JDA’s regular November meeting held last Thursday.

After approval of minutes from the board’s Oct. 25 regular meeting and Nov. 1 Executive Committee special meeting, the board reviewed the treasurer’s report, presented in a new format developed by Executive Director Jessica Brossart and board member and Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke.

Members asked questions about individual items on the balance sheet, which included updating assets, zeroing out a loan to the former Big Pauly’s Pizza restaurant, and rental income and loan payments on the Heart of America Johnson Clinic. Steinke and member Terry Hoffert examined various JDA accounts and the board discussed structuring them to make funds available for new programs to help area businesses.

Brossart noted the importance of clear parameters within JDA budgets when funds are granted to programs for items such as student loans, or funds to bring a new physician, Dr. Josalynne Hoff, to HAMC.

“I think we need to know what funds we have available and where that would come from, so we know what we have to work with before we dive any deeper, and choose how many things we want to do,” Brossart said. “Because there’s at least three, four, five options that we could have for these, but of course, we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, so we should have money if we need it.”

“But,” she added, “if there’s money just sitting there, and it’s not really doing anything, that’s not really the purpose of the JDA. We should be using those funds to improve jobs, and our town.” Brossart continued, “I’d like everybody to review these in more detail, and give recommendations, and some amounts.”

Steinke stressed the importance of aligning changes in expenses with the budget as well. “You need to follow your budget, or otherwise, you need to make a budget amendment, and adjust your budget before you go forward with whatever you decided to change,” she noted.

The board reviewed proposals by the Souris Basin Planning Council designed to support new entrepreneurs in the community. One such program would form a growth fund, with money pooled from the 37 communities and seven counties Souris Basin serves. The seed money for the fund would come from contributions from individuals and groups within the communities, and funds would be disbursed to entrepreneurs seeking interest buy downs, and, according to a letter from Souris Basin, “knock down roadblocks to help drive economic development, job creation, and increased services and products in our communities.”

The board also discussed other services offered by Souris Basin, including a revolving loan program for entrepreneurs, which included loan servicing and portfolio management.

In other business, Brossart reported on the success of the “Board Boot Camp” held last month, and shared her experience attending the Economic Development North Dakota conference in Minot in October. Brossart said she was considering attending the International Economic Development Conference in January. Brossart also told the board she extended the JDA Student Loan Assistance Program to December 7th. The board voted for Karin Fursather and Jodi Schaan to replace outgoing members of the Student Loan Assistance Committee and review applications.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the board voted to cancel the December 27th JDA meeting. The board’s next scheduled regular meeting will be January 24th.

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