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JDA accepts economic planning service bids

By Staff | Mar 6, 2020

The Rugby Job Development Authority took a step toward applying for a Partners in Planning grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce in a special meeting held Wednesday at noon.

The JDA board voted to accept a bid for services from Grand Forks engineering and planning firm AE2S to create an economic development and diversification strategic plan for Rugby.

The board also considered a bid from North Dakota firm Interstate Engineering to assist with developing their plan.

JDA Executive Director Liz Heisey said both firms “were given identical information and neither one sought each other’s quote, so they had a level playing field for what they were quoting.”

Heisey said Interstate Engineering submitted a bid for $37,000, while AE2S came in with a bid of $34,600.

“AE2S did include examples of their work with their quote,” board member Terry Hoffert said as he reviewed the company’s proposal.

“I believe they did a better job of putting their proposal together,” Hoffert added. “They’re a little bit cheaper, which is not a big deal because there’s not a lot of difference in price, but there’s the experience at doing that and having people who are basically for that (purpose). I think that doesn’t sound too bad personally.”

Board member Gary Kraft asked, “How much is this going to overlap what the city is doing as far as the comprehensive plan?”

“They’ll complement each other, because this one will be more focused on economic development,” Heisey said of the JDA’s plans and the City of Rugby’s comprehensive plan. “But it will certainly complement what the city’s doing.”

JDA Board Chair Blair Brattvet said both proposals submitted offered to “give you some guidance. They have some knowledge in place instead of just a bunch of people sitting around a table throwing ideas out there.”

Heisey noted, “We definitely need to have a plan in place when we apply for the big grant, either through the USDA or through the state. All these entities or funding organizations require a strategic plan.”

“It would have been nice to have a plan in the past when we were between directors or had a new director just to have a little road map to start with,” Kraft agreed.

Hoffert noted, “The thing of it is, with natural gas being put in not too far from us there will be possibilities out there for the state to help fund the infrastructure to get those to communities like Rugby or whatever’s along this line. If we have a good plan in order, our chance of getting anything like that will be a lot better, I think. That will be a huge boost to our community and our industry – diversifying our economy.”

“Anything we can have on our side is great,” Hoffert added. “That’s an important part to look at.”

After their unanimous vote to accept the AE2S bid, board members told the Tribune the Partners in Planning grant offered communities like Rugby funds of up to $30,000 with a 20 percent match from grant recipients.

“If we don’t qualify for the grant, we don’t pay anything,” Brattvet said.

“Hopefully, we get that grant and another thing, by participating in some of this stuff we’re more accessible (to other funding sources), too,” Hoffert said.

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