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JDA continues budget streamlining

By Staff | Feb 8, 2019

The Rugby Job Development Authority continued work on budget-streamlining measures begun last year at their first regular meeting for 2019, held last Thursday.

The board received updates on budgeting for new programs from Executive Director Jessica Brossart, President Tanner Johnson, and board member and Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke.

Steinke shared information presented to executive committee meetings held January 10 and 18 concerning a loan the JDA had taken out to pay for the Heart of America Johnson Clinic. The loan was arranged through Souris Basin Planning Council in February 2011.

“We’re paying about 4% on the Souris Basin loan,” Steinke said of the money the JDA borrowed to pay for the clinic. “And, we’re getting very little interest back on that money,” she added.

“So, that was one of my suggestions pay off this loan, save ourselves the rest of the interest on the balance, and then use that $1100 (per month) to come up with a program that we could do for interest buy downs when they don’t meet the Bank of North Dakota criteria, or we could fund some other job development/creation program, whatever we wanted to do with that money,” Steinke said. “But, it would free up some money; it would save us interest over the next eight more years.”

Johnson noted the payoff amount on the loan was $84,000, and its terms had set the payoff date for 2026.

Steinke told the group the loan could be paid off using JDA bank accounts that were “just sitting there, not earning enough (interest).”

After the board listened to the executive committee’s findings, member Gary Kraft made a motion to pay the loan off. The board carried the motion.

After the meeting, Steinke told the Tribune, “This fall, I started looking at (the JDA’s) financials, trying to get things squared away, and give them a more presentable financial statement to put out, that was understandable. Sorting through the liabilities that the JDA has, and the assets that they have, paying off this loan makes a lot of financial sense. It will save a lot of interest on the balance of this loan, and we can actually take that money that we were using every month to fund programs and do more for the citizens of Rugby.”

Steinke said the payoff “was one of my recommendations about a month and a half ago to the executive committee.”

“This (information) gave them the push that they needed,” Steinke added.

Brossart noted the early payoff would save the JDA $26,500, which could be used for other programs.

Other topics on the agenda included a recommendation to review the JDA’s policy manual to ensure it aligns with City of Rugby ordinances. Steinke said the executive committee would meet to make necessary changes.

“We need to get all that straightened out in the 1st quarter (of the fiscal year),” noted Brossart.

Brossart also shared news on a position obtained on the Red River Corridor Fund Advisory Council for the JDA, and a petition for a position for the Rugby JDA on the Souris Basin Planning Council.

The board also discussed zeroing out an old loan to Big Pauly’s Pizza, and hiring a permanent office assistant for JDA administrative tasks.

Brossart presented a thank you letter from Trinty Hospital’s Twice Blessed Campaign, which matched a $10,000 gift from the JDA with another $10,000 toward purchasing 3D mammography equipment at Heart of America Medical Center. Also discussed were a $500 Rugby Convention and Visitors’ Bureau grant for advertising October’s “Tour the Possibilities” event, and award winners for the JDA’s student loan repayment program, Gary Brossart and Patricia Pfeiffer.

Gary Brossart is an employee with the City of Rugby, and Patricia Pfeiffer is employed by Stylin’ You Salon.

The JDA also listened to new information Brossart presented on Devils Lake’s “20 by 20” program, which encourages students to pursue two year degree and training programs to fill local jobs. The program, paid for by Devils Lake businesses and the Devils Lake Job Development Authority, offers financial aid to students in exchange for an agreement to remain in the area and work for local businesses upon graduation.

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