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Entrepreneurs in Stutsman County and the surrounding region will have access to a Small Business Development Center, although not on the regular basis the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. had hoped for. The board of the JSDC had hoped to have a Small Business Development Center in Jamestown with regular days and hours. "This is now a Fargo position with Jamestown and Wahpeton on call," Kelly Rachel, president of the JSDC, told the board of directors Monday. "Not what we had wanted at all."
A disproportionate number of registered sex offenders live in Jamestown compared to other cities in the state, according to Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police. "We're by far the highest," he said. Jamestown is home to 86 registered sex offenders, Edinger said. That does not include offenders in the James River Correctional Center, Stutsman County Correctional Center or the North Dakota State Hospital Sexual Offender Treatment Program.
Rubberneckers and gawkers slowed the Jamestown Fire Department's response to a backyard shed fire Friday, according to Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police. "The public hindered the response," he said. "There was a lot of danger created at the intersections." Initially, calls from the public to the Stutsman County Communications Center reported a shed on fire near the intersection of 11th Street Southeast and 13th Avenue Southeast about 1:15 p.m. Dark clouds of smoke were visible at that time from the downtown area.
The board of directors of the Minnesota Soybean Processors is hoping a change at the CEO post boosts its equity drive and accelerates its timeline leading to construction, according to Bruce Hill, president of Minnesota Soybean Processors and the planned North Dakota Soybean Processors at Spiritwood. "We have changed leadership," he said. "We are trying to put out a different message."
Stutsman County departments were asked to prepare 2020 budgets at or below the level of the 2019 budget. Nicole Meland, county auditor and chief operating officer, told the County Commission Tuesday the taxable value of the county was up 5.15% for the upcoming tax year but only 0.8% was from new construction. The directive to county department heads did not include instructions for any salary increases for employees. A salary survey is being conducted and wages for employees would be addressed through that rather than a step or cost-of-living adjustment.
After nearly four years of feasibility studies and work by consultants, the Jamestown City Council will act on the first reading of an ordinance to create a stormwater utility fee at its June 3 meeting. Mayor Dwaine Heinrich told the Stormwater Utility Committee, made up of the City Council, on Tuesday that Jamestown was not in a good financial position. "We were short $1.4 million at budget time (last year) and had to have a 25% increase in property taxes," he said. "A way to get back to a balanced budget was to implement a stormwater fee."
The city of Jamestown will have a new forester as early as June 1. Jay Sveum, deputy city auditor and human resource manager for Jamestown, told the Jamestown City Council Monday that the selection committee unanimously recommended Erik Laber for the position. The City Council then approved his appointment. Laber is originally from the Pingree and Buchanan area and a graduate of North Dakota State University. He will begin the position at a salary of $3,561 per month.
Local government officials have two years to figure out how to spend money made available to them under "Operation Prairie Dog" that passed the recent North Dakota Legislature and was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum on March 20. House Bill 1066 could bring $4.8 million for the 2021-2022 biennium to Jamestown for infrastructure projects. Stutsman County could receive about $3.4 million for the same period. "We have never ending infrastructure needs," said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich. "One that is not as visible as the streets is the wastewater treatment plant."
Economic development efforts in the Jamestown area are all about workforce development, according to Kelly Rachel, president of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Rachel told the annual meeting of the JSDC Wednesday that he was optimistic about the future of Jamestown but bringing more workers to Jamestown must be the most important issue for the organization. Shawn Kessel, deputy director of the North Dakota Department of Commerce and keynote speaker at the meeting, echoed the concern.
It took Will Bernhagen 27 walking days to travel from Sheridan, Wyo., to the University of Jamestown campus. The gathering of students and administrators who greeted him at Taylor Stadium for a couple of laps despite the rain Wednesday still surprised him. "Ending it here," he said, in response to questions about the most memorable moment of the trek. "I never anticipated this and it wasn't my idea." Students and people from the community assembled at the track at Taylor Stadium to walk with Bernhagen and to cheer him as he completed the 600 mile walk.