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JDA hears updates from director, EDC

By Staff | Nov 8, 2019

The Rugby Job Development Authority held their regular meeting for October on Wednesday due to an inability to form a quorum on their Oct. 24 scheduled meeting date.

Executive Director Liz Heisey shared information gleaned from the 2019 Economic Development North Dakota Conference in Dickinson and the North Dakota Main Street Summit held in Bismarck last month.

Heisey described touring various businesses such as Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing during the conferences and briefly described how local communities supported the businesses.

Heisey also shared a speech by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum that discussed the significant harvest loss incurred by farmers across the state and the importance of mental health services to help farm families survive the stress caused by the natural disaster. Board member Terry Hoffart asked if any mental health counselors had been hired for local schools, the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center or Pierce County Social Services. No information was available.

The JDA board also heard a presentation from Terry Wentz of the Rugby Economic Development Corporation. Wentz shared a brief history of the corporation and gave a description of what the EDC does.

“We work with the banks. Say a person wants to start a business – they work with a bank. The bank requires 30 percent down on a note. If the person doesn’t have that 30 percent necessary (for the loan), the bank will refer them a lot of times to the EDC. What we are is a crutch to help them out.”

Wentz said the EDC charges its clients higher interest rates than banks.

Wentz said the EDC began in the 1970s by buying lots in the Rugby Industrial Park area.

“To raise money in order to get money to loan out,” Wentz said, “they had gambling (operations).”

Financial problems resulted from a failure to pay the state agencies’ fees on the gambling proceeds, Wentz told the group.

Wentz explained how the EDC recovered from their financial problems later using industrial park property and how the agency has become a stopgap funding source for fledgling businesses.

Wentz also made an inquiry about gap financing for a business planning to move to Rugby.

The JDA discussed a student loan program through the North Dakota University system. The program, called North Dakota Career Builders, would match funds disbursed through current JDA student loan assistance programs.

The board also voted to change a current agreement with Dr. Josalynne Hoff-Rue to incorporate the North Dakota Career Builders student loan program in their current financial assistance plan at no extra cost to the JDA.

Another issue on the JDA board’s agenda was the Bank of North Dakota’s Flex PACE financing program and how it could provide assistance for Rugby’s new Home of Economy store. Heisey said the JDA would hold a special meeting to discuss the matter further. “We did have the conversation about what incentives Rugby offers. I do believe they are going to pursue PACE funding and I wanted the board to know that we did let them know it was offered.”

In other business, the JDA discussed approved the minutes for their Sept. 26 meeting, approved the treasurer’s report and considered the 2019 budget to date and discussed maintenance issues for signage in the Chalmers Addition.

The next regular JDA meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 at noon.

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