JSDC changes bylaws
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board voted unanimously Monday to change its bylaws, allowing the City Council to choose its JSDC Board member.
The bylaws previously read the designated board member shall be the "Jamestown City Mayor and/or his/her designee." It will now read "a member of the Jamestown City Council, chosen by the Jamestown City Council." Bylaws changes do not require approval from the City Council or the Stutsman County Commission.
JSDC CEO Connie Ova said the council and commission are home rule and their members are elected at large. The County Commission already chooses its representative to the JSDC Board, who presently is Mark Klose, the commission chair.
"This bylaws change allows the City Council to choose who they want to serve on this board as does the county," Ova said.
Ken Schulz, who is a city councilman chosen by the JSDC Board to serve, said he had no objection to the bylaws change. However, "normally the council does not make an appointment change until after an election," he said.
The next City Council election is in June.
"It's up to the City Council, but it's a new year and you might want to make a change now," said JSDC Board member Dick Geigle.
Geigle initiated the bylaws change. He raised the subject up at the December JSDC Board meeting saying he wanted Mayor Clarice Liechty off the board. He accused her then of broadsiding the JSDC at every opportunity and harassing the JSDC staff.
Liechty was not at Monday's meeting. In an e-mail to JSDC Board members and the news media Jan. 6, Liechty commented on "removing the mayor and replacing her with a member of the Jamestown City Council. What is my sin that you want to take this particular action at this time ...? Have I asked too many questions? Do I not have any business sense?"
The mayor's e-mail was not mentioned at Monday's meeting. JSDC President Jim Boyd did say the bylaws change does not preclude the mayor from being selected as all members of the City Council are equal. Schulz noted the change reinforces the modern council idea with each member, including the mayor, having an equal vote.
"It would be better if there were no council persons nor county committee persons on the JSDC board," she wrote in her e-mail. "I have suggested this several times to no avail."
In a telephone interview later Monday, the mayor said of the bylaws change, "This is a wrong decision and very shortsighted. It is detrimental to the citizens of Jamestown and the JSDC not to have the mayor on the board or the executive board. This is a slap to this mayor. It's a personal thing. It's stupid and asinine and shows a lack of understanding of politics and business."
Although the bylaws change was not a money issue and did not require it, Boyd took a roll call vote.
The JSDC Board also approved a Flex PACE interest buy down for Custom Contracting Solutions LLC. A recommendation for approval will now go to the City Council and the County Commission. The start-up company has a seven-year, $225,000 equipment loan with Unison Bank. The interest buy down on the loan is 5 percent, which equals slightly more than $43,000. The community's share of that is 35 percent. The request is for $16,000, with the city's share at $12,800 and the county's share at $3,200. Custom Contracting will pay the JSDC back within two years of the loan being paid off.
Tom Schultz, president of Custom Contracting, told the JSDC Board the general contracting company is focusing on work throughout North Dakota and South Dakota. The work is mainly in the guard rail industry, but due to federal stimulus money, he said, "There's a tremendous amount of work in North Dakota and South Dakota. Right now we're working on about 30 projects."
With five more years of stimulus funding, he said he sees even more projects available to the fledgling company. He said he plans to add permanent sign and fencing construction, site development and even snow removal to what the company will do as it goes forward.
"No job will be too small," he said.
Custom Contracting does have at least one competitor, Ova said. She said she had spoken to the competing company. The Flex PACE provides funding regardless of competition.
"It's an equal opportunity for any business to request these funds," Klose said.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org