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Withholding funds: JSDC pays a portion of Regional Council dues

The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. voted to authorize a partial payment of the city of Jamestown and Stutsman County’s dues to South Central Dakota Regional Council, citing an ongoing disagreement in funding the area Small Business Development Center and financial instability at the Regional Council.

Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC, told the JSDC Board of Directors Monday the Regional Council requested $37,534 in 2019 dues but the Regional Council hadn’t refunded the JSDC $5,000 from the 2018 dues payment. Ova said the Regional Council owed the JSDC $15,000 as a payment from the 2019 dues for not operating the Small Business Development Center..

The refunds come from a disagreement between the two organizations over the operation of the Small Business Development Center. The Regional Council discontinued operating the Small Business Development Center and the JSDC maintains that a portion of its dues were paid specifically for Small Business Development Center operations.

The Regional Council administers grant and loan programs over a nine-county area including Stutsman County. The JSDC operates economic development programs in Jamestown and Stutsman County.

There is currently no Small Business Development Center based in Jamestown, although staff from other development centers have been called to Jamestown at times, Ova said.

JSDC Board members also raised questions about the Regional Council’s financial stability.

“I’m not sure this is the place to bring this up,” said Steve Cichos, Stutsman County commissioner and member of the JSDC Board. “It is my understanding they’ve been evicted from the Legacy Center as of this morning.”

The Regional Council leases office space in the Legacy Center. It recently has been attempting to renegotiate or modify its lease.

Staff answering the phone at the Regional Council Monday afternoon said they were still in their offices at the Legacy Center.

“That brings up the issue, are they going to be an ongoing entity or not?” Cichos said.

Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich, a member of the JSDC Board of Directors, said the JSDC needed to make sure it wasn’t responsible for problems at the Regional Council.

“We don’t want Jamestown pointed out as causing the failure,” he said.

The JSDC unanimously approved paying the Regional Council $17,534 as the amount it requested minus the $5,000 and $15,000 the JSDC said it is owed for the Regional Council’s share of the Small Business Development Center.

In other business, the JSDC approved a Flex PACE interest buy down for Whitney Bruins, who is purchasing a share of Downtown Dental. The Flex Pace interest buy down provides a grant from the Bank of North Dakota and a loan from the JSDC to reduce interest costs on the business loan.