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JDA discusses Flex PACE assistance, community promotion

By Staff | Nov 29, 2019

The Rugby Job Development Authority voted to participate in the Bank of North Dakota’s Flex PACE (Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion) interest buy-down program with Home of Economy at its regular monthly meeting last Thursday.

The program, which buys down interest on loans to businesses in North Dakota communities, partners the Bank of North Dakota with community funding sources and various community agencies, according to the Bank of North Dakota’s website.

Home of Economy was approved for a community interest buy down with payments to decrease each year over the 20-year life of the real estate loan they applied for through their lead bank in Grand Forks. The loan was for the purchase of the former Shopko building. The Rugby JDA would contribute 30 percent of the buy-down funds, while the Bank of North Dakota would contribute 70 percent.

The program does not buy down more than 5 percent of the interest on eligible business loans.

The board voted to hire Rugby Attorney Galen Mack to sign the documents pertaining to the buy down.

JDA Executive Director Liz Heisey said the JDA makes their portion of buy-down payments to the BND’s Flex PACE program, and they are treated as a normal operating expense rather than a liability on the JDA’s balance sheet.

Board member Jodi Schaan pointed out several other Rugby businesses are participating in the Flex PACE program.

Heisey said JDA welcomes inquiries from new businesses about Flex PACE buy-down assistance. “It’s a great program,” she noted.

Heisey reported community members are “excited” to have Home of Economy in Rugby.

In other business, Heisey said work continues on strategic planning for the JDA, which will incorporate data collected through a series of quality of life surveys conducted in November.

“We’re going to do a couple more surveys to fix the holes in our initial survey,” Heisey reported. “We need some follow up so we can get some real data so we can start our strategic planning process. The JDA’s strategic plan is out of date. We should (create a strategic plan) annually. We need to have a good outline for our priorities for where we need to focus or what we need to work on.”

“Then, Heisey added, “we can share that information with the other communities and organizations and businesses. There’s a lot of useful data analysis that we need to move our community forward.”

Heisey also reported November sales tax revenues were down compared to November of 2018.

The board discussed increasing the JDA’s advertising budget to continue promoting Rugby’s attributes, and Board President Blair Bratvet asked Heisey about including radio stations outside of Rugby in the budget.

“Advertising is key to keeping the narrative going,” Heisey told the board.

Heisey also reminded the board of the Dec. 1 deadline for student loan payment assistance for employees of local businesses.

The JDA will review the applications for student loan payment assistance at its next regular monthly meeting to be held Dec. 9.

More information on student loan payment assistance, Flex PACE interest buy-down assistance or other JDA programs is available online at rugbyjda.com or at 776-7655.

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