After the vote: No plan yet if city, county decline SCDRC membershipNext week the Jamestown City Council and the Stutsman County Commission will take a vote and decide if they want to remain members of the South Central Dakota Regional Council for another year.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Next week the Jamestown City Council and the Stutsman County Commission will take a vote and decide if they want to remain members of the South Central Dakota Regional Council for another year.
SCDRC staff and executive board members said there is no plan in place yet if the vote is no. If the county that provides the largest share of dues decided to leave the council, any decisions would fall on the executive board at that time.
“Personally, from past experience over the years being on the board — I’ve been on for the past 25 years plus — we’ve never had Stutsman County not be a member,” said Joe Neis, secretary/treasurer of the SCDRC executive board. “I believe it would make it very difficult to operate without them being members.”
Stutsman County holds the membership for itself and for Jamestown, but Jamestown pays two-thirds of the annual dues, roughly $22,000, while the county pays the other third.
Late last year the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. recommended to the city and county that those groups withdraw their memberships from SCDRC. Later, the JSDC reversed its recommendation. Membership has been debated at public meetings since December with the county agreeing to pay for 3 months’ worth of membership for 2013.
At last month’s SCDRC meeting the full board decided it needed a mandatory signature from Stutsman County on a joint powers agreement that would approve membership for 2013 by next week.
The City Council meets Monday and the County Commission meets Tuesday.
“I really have no idea what would happen,” Neis said, if the city and county decide not to renew the membership. “It makes it difficult to pull out of Jamestown because it’s central to us. If they really stick with pulling out it could be very difficult for us to operate normally.”
Dean Entzminger, president of the SCDRC executive board, agreed that he isn’t aware of what would happen. But he said the board will deal with it, if it occurs.
If the county and city decline to renew membership, it leaves a geographical hole in the center of the nine-county region the SCDRC serves.
No SCDRC staff or executive board members commented on the possible relocation of the Jamestown based office, however, full-board member and Carrington Mayor Don Frye said Jamestown is a logical fit.
“It really needs to be in one of the two larger communities in the region, whether it’s Valley City or Jamestown,” Frye said.
SCDRC does own 32 percent of the building it operates out of at 120 Second St. SE. If the executive committee does decide to relocate it would have to address its partial ownership in the building.
Regardless of the outcome Frye, said he wants to continue to move forward to better serve member counties and their communities.
“I think if Stutsman County and Jamestown decided not to do that (sign the joint powers agreement), I certainly respect their position and I’ll be pushing for the full board and the executive board and the growth committee to develop a strategy to continue to operate in the regional council because it’s so important for the regions…,” Frye said.
Deb Kantrud, SCDRC executive director, declined to comment on what could happen if the joint powers agreement is not signed. But she did release a statement.
“We respect the Stutsman County commissioners and the decision they will make next week. South Central Dakota Regional Council members and staff have provided the county officials with the information they have requested. The Regional Council Executive Board and the JSDC Executive Committee have met and will meet quarterly. We are working together on regional projects such as the Workforce Development Committee and the Region VI Housing Demand Assessment and continue to assist in project development on a number of projects. The Regional Council board of directors has taken a proactive response to the concerns voiced by Stutsman County. A Committee for Growth has been formed, and a survey was sent out last week to determine what services cities and counties would utilize. The Regional Council has also set a date to hold a planning session to consider the future growth and development of the services that are provided,” Kantrud wrote.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org