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Residential development: JSDC considering programs to aid in infrastructure

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown Sun
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The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. is considering programs to promote residential housing developments in and near Jamestown.

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The discussion occurred during the JSDC Executive Committee meeting Monday and is in the preliminary stages.

“The JSDC is not into housing,” said Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC. “But it can do infrastructure such as water, sewer and streets.”

Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen said most properties available for residential development in and around the city would require sewer lift stations to facilitate city sanitary sewer connections. She said the JSDC would decide which developments to participate in based on costs of adding infrastructure.

The JSDC would be repaid for its investment in the development when the lots are sold, Andersen said.

Ova said the JSDC should limit its investment in residential infrastructure to 10 percent to 20 percent of its available funds. The JSDC currently has about $4.7 million in uncommitted funds.

The executive board directed JSDC staff to prepare a proposal detailing possible plans for the residential infrastructure program for the May 12 regular meeting of the JSDC Board of Directors.

The executive committee also reviewed possible ways to deal with businesses that have received money from the JSDC in the past but have not met the hiring goals included in the agreement.

Precision Results had 25 employees in 2007 when it received JSDC funds to help it expand to a planned 46 workers. It currently has 19 employees and would owe about $32,000 if required to repay the grants.

UTC pledged to add 84 jobs in 2006 when it received JSDC money. It would owe the JSDC about $148,000 for the jobs it has not filled.

Mark Klose, Stutsman County Commission chairman, said the JSDC had issued a number of extensions to the businesses in the past.

“We should protect the taxpayers by asking them to pay back the whole amount,” he said.

Bob Toso, member of the JSDC executive committee, said the downturn in the economy caused most of the shortages.

“No one could anticipate what would happen with the economy,” he said. “That was most of the reason the growth didn’t occur. They also had problems recruiting and keeping people.”

Toso was a member of a subcommittee that negotiated with the businesses. The subcommittee recommended the companies pay 50 percent of what was owed and be allowed to take credit for any hires before the end of 2014.

The board directed the JSDC staff to compare the current wages to the wages used as minimums in the contracts for the grants.

For example, the Precision Results grants required the company to hire workers at a minimum of $10 per hour. If it is currently paying $20 per hour it may be allowed to count each worker as two hires.

The item will also be discussed at the JSDC Board of Directors meeting on May 12.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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