Stutsman County is better off with SCDRCIt’s time for the city and county to realize what’s been in front of them for weeks: The South Central Dakota Regional Council is a good return for the money invested.
It’s time for the city and county to realize what’s been in front of them for weeks: The South Central Dakota Regional Council is a good return for the money invested.
During the first week of February the City Council and County Commission will have to decide if they will sign a joint powers agreement to be a member for the next year in the SCDRC.
Elected officials have publicly questioned if the money invested is worth the benefits — clearly it is.
In a nutshell, SCDRC conducts studies, provides business resources, helps with grants and gap financing and revolving loans.
Stutsman County holds the membership name and the ultimate decision for Jamestown. Jamestown would pay roughly $22,000 for SCDRC membership and the county the remaining $11,000 for 2013. But that money is felt many times around in Stutsman County, even though the SCDRC also serves eight other counties.
Jamestown and Stutsman County have consistently been the main benefactors from SCDRC membership.
Any entity can apply for Community Development Block Grants through U.S. Housing and Urban Development. The SCDRC, however, is the one that determines who receives those grants.
From 1984 through 2012, factoring in economic development, public facilities and housing, Stutsman County has seen more than $9.8 million in economic impact from CDBGs.
Some major projects in recent years have been awarded to smaller cities in the county.
Medina received a $140,000 CDBG for a sewer lift station in 2011. Cleveland received a CDBG of $110,000 for a new community center building in 2009.
Those projects are federal dollars awarded through SCDRC for cities that would be challenged to obtain those types of funds for projects here in Stutsman County.
Here in Jamestown, Community Development Loan Fund projects have made an impact on business and infrastructure.
In 2010 Goodrich Corp. received a grant of more than $1.7 million for purchasing equipment. From 2008 to 2010, four other area businesses received loans for projects totaling $660,000 that have led to more jobs for residents here.
The Small Business Development Center at SCDRC has helped create 76 jobs from 2008 to 2012, helped retain an additional 40 and helped start 26 businesses.
In those four years Jamestown and Stutsman County were the major benefactors of the programs offered though SCDRC.
It’s easy to assume someone else could pick up these duties for the city or the county. But the cost would be much higher than what is currently paid in yearly dues.
More importantly, Jamestown is the economic and commercial center of the nine-county region served by SCDRC. As the regional hub, Jamestown benefits from residents in other communities coming here to conduct business.
What message does that send to those other eight counties if Stutsman County pulls out and takes with it the majority of funding?
Positive changes are on the horizon for the region. We need to work together to address the impending industrial and population growth.
Local representatives should recognize the greater good, look at the value of dollars spent and see that membership in the SCDRC is a worthwhile — and necessary investment.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)