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JDA talks budget, building repurpose ideas

By Sue Sitter - | Jul 24, 2021

After their regular meeting scheduled for July 14 failed to result in a quorum, the Rugby JDA Board of Directors met July 20 at the JDA office instead.

Members reviewed a preliminary budget to be sent to the Rugby City Council for approval at their regular meeting Aug. 3.

Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke had prepared the budget along with former JDA Director Liz Heisey, whom the board contracted for accounting services. Steinke told the board “there really isn’t” any change to the JDA’s 2022 budget over their 2021 budget. Steinke noted she had found an error on budget spreadsheets and statements that would be addressed City Auditor Jennifer Stewart before council members would approve the budget.

“The director’s salary is not correct on here,” Steinke told the board.

The JDA voted to approve the budget with the amended director’s salary.

Steinke and JDA Executive Director Karl Frigaard told the board they had given a developer a tour of the Heart of America Medical Center building. The hospital’s board has plans to move to a new facility on U.S. Highway 2 in approximately two years. City and hospital board members have been addressing ways to repurpose the current building when the hospital relocates.

“That’s in the beginning stages so we don’t know how successful this one will be,” Steinke said, “But it’s a start. We’re anxious to hear back whether he thinks there are possibilities,” Steinke said of the developer, whom she did not name. “It’s a big facility. And because it (has) such large square footage, there are many things that could be done with it. So, we’re just at the beginning stages of that.”

“The department of commerce called me yesterday to ask where we are with (plans for the former hospital building),” Steinke added. “I said we’re waiting to hear back from this one and I don’t know what the hospital has planned or what stage they’re in.”

Of the tour, Steinke said, “We were able to look in every nook and cranny and the developer got a good sense of what shape the building is in. We’re waiting to hear back from him.”

In his director’s report, Frigard told the board he had talked to the North Dakota Department of Commerce about customized training dollars available for manufacturing companies.

Frigaard added he was working on bringing a proposal to the Bank of North Dakota to fund housing programs for employees at Rugby businesses.

Frigaard also told the board he would like to look at a repurposed older building in Oakes that now houses a regional worker training center. Frigaard added he planned to attend a regional meeting addressing housing needs in North Dakota. The meeting will take place in Beulah.

Board President Blair Brattvett told the board block 6, lots 10 and 11 of the JDA-owned Chalmers Addition subdivision had been sold.

The board also reviewed documentation for the satisfaction of a mortgage loan on the Rugby Broadcasters Building on Highway 2. The documents would be sent to Rugby City Attorney Bill Hartl.

Board member Gary Kraft asked when Rugby’s Johnson Clinic loan from the JDA would be paid off. Susan Selensky, who serves as the board’s vice chair, said the loan would be paid in full in 2026.

Board members also reviewed a list of realtors contracted to sell lots in the Chalmers Addition subdivision, noting Brokers 12 had not yet renewed their contract.

The board’s next scheduled meeting will take place at the JDA office at noon Aug. 11.

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