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Divvying up the dollars: Eleven community organizations seek aid from Beltrami county fund

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Eleven community organizations want nearly $116,000 from a $75,000 Beltrami County fund.

When Beltrami County commissioners divvy up the County Development Fund sometime in January, they'll only have $75,000 to work with, unless they dip into the fund's reserves.

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A group of 11 community organizations have requested in 2011 a total of $115,890 for their projects from a county fund that provides subsidies for agricultural, tourism or industrial development projects.

The County Development Fund is derived from proceeds from timber sales from county managed lands, with the Legislature allowing the county to allocate $1 for every county resident, up to $5, from sales revenues for the fund.

With about 40,000 people in Beltrami County, the County Development Fund could provide up to $200,000 for community organizations that engage in agriculture, tourism or industrial development activities. The fund for several years did provide $200,000 as the county harvested and sold jackpine before it was damaged by infestation.

But County Administrator Tony Murphy told commissioners Dec. 21 that timber revenues are down and he recommended only $75,000 in the budget they approved that day.

Commissioner Jim Heltzer tried to amend the budget to add $25,000 to the fund, giving $100,000 to dole out, but Murphy told him that money could be used in the fund's reserves to give $100,000 if commissioners desire.

"It would be a lot easier to appropriate $100,000 in January than $75,000," Heltzer said.

"There are significant fund reserves in the County Development Fund," said Murphy.

Missing from this year's requests is the Joint Economic Development Commission, funding of which has created controversy among commissioners before. Murphy said the JEDC is in transition now its ong-time director Larry Young is retiring.

Requests for Community Development Funds include:

E Beltrami County Agricultural Association, $30,000, for grandstand safety barrier, arena sound system equipment, cattle wash rack addition and wastewater control, addition camper hookups, barn ventilation fans, grounds keeping motor equipment and small animal barn gates.

E Beltrami County Historial Society, $20,000, for "The Middle Years -- 1941-63," a television documentary about the history of Beltrami County.

E Beltrami Humane Society, $1,556, for sterile equipment for animal sick room.

E Bemidji Area Tennis Association, $12,500, toward security cameras at a Bemidji Area Community Tennis Center to be constructed at $850,000.

E Blackduck History and Art Center, $6,400, for acquiring a model railroad train display.

E Boys & Girls Club of Bemidji Area, $3,000, for parking lot work.

E Evergreen House, $15,000, toward construction of a new $3.5 million Evergreen Youth Supportive Housing facility.

E Headwaters Science Center, $7,500, used toward $50,100 exhibit "Why We Breathe."

E Northern Dental Access Center, $9,530, for technology upgrades to support $338,130 expansion.

E Northwoods Habitat for Humanity, $5,000, for "Brush With Kindness" program to help low-income people with exterior improvements of their home.

E Paul Bunyan Playhouse, $5,404, for $40,404 project to replace air handling system.

Eleven community organizations want nearly $116,000 from a $75,000 Beltrami County fund.

When Beltrami County commissioners divvy up the County Development Fund sometime in January, they'll only have $75,000 to work with, unless they dip into the fund's reserves.

A group of 11 community organizations have requested in 2011 a total of $115,890 for their projects from a county fund that provides subsidies for agricultural, tourism or industrial development projects.

The County Development Fund is derived from proceeds from timber sales from county managed lands, with the Legislature allowing the county to allocate $1 for every county resident, up to $5, from sales revenues for the fund.

With about 40,000 people in Beltrami County, the County Development Fund could provide up to $200,000 for community organizations that engage in agriculture, tourism or industrial development activities. The fund for several years did provide $200,000 as the county harvested and sold jackpine before it was damaged by infestation.

But County Administrator Tony Murphy told commissioners Dec. 21 that timber revenues are down and he recommended only $75,000 in the budget they approved that day.

Commissioner Jim Heltzer tried to amend the budget to add $25,000 to the fund, giving $100,000 to dole out, but Murphy told him that money could be used in the fund's reserves to give $100,000 if commissioners desire.

"It would be a lot easier to appropriate $100,000 in January than $75,000," Heltzer said.

"There are significant fund reserves in the County Development Fund," said Murphy.

Missing from this year's requests is the Joint Economic Development Commission, funding of which has created controversy among commissioners before. Murphy said the JEDC is in transition now its ong-time director Larry Young is retiring.

Requests for Community Development Funds include:

- Beltrami County Agricultural Association, $30,000, for grandstand safety barrier, arena sound system equipment, cattle wash rack addition and wastewater control, addition camper hookups, barn ventilation fans, grounds keeping motor equipment and small animal barn gates.

- Beltrami County Historial Society, $20,000, for "The Middle Years -- 1941-63," a television documentary about the history of Beltrami County.

- Beltrami Humane Society, $1,556, for sterile equipment for animal sick room.

- Bemidji Area Tennis Association, $12,500, toward security cameras at a Bemidji Area Community Tennis Center to be constructed at $850,000.

- Blackduck History and Art Center, $6,400, for acquiring a model railroad train display.

- Boys & Girls Club of Bemidji Area, $3,000, for parking lot work.

- Evergreen House, $15,000, toward construction of a new $3.5 million Evergreen Youth Supportive Housing facility.

- Headwaters Science Center, $7,500, used toward $50,100 exhibit "Why We Breathe."

- Northern Dental Access Center, $9,530, for technology upgrades to support $338,130 expansion.

- Northwoods Habitat for Humanity, $5,000, for "Brush With Kindness" program to help low-income people with exterior improvements of their home.

- Paul Bunyan Playhouse, $5,404, for $40,404 project to replace air handling system.

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