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Blackduck City Council holds very short meeting

With snow coming down heavy all day, members of the Blackduck City Council plowed their way to the regularly schedule meeting Nov. 22.

The meeting was extremely short with the most discussion concerning a letter of support from the council to the Paul Bunyan Communications Board of Directors in regards to dissolving the Blackduck Telephone Revolving Loan Fund.

It was the understanding of the council and the Blackduck Development Cooperation, that during the December meeting of the Paul Bunyan Communications Board of Directors, a discussion on the consideration of dissolving the Blackduck Telephone Revolving Loan Fund.

At the time Blackduck Telephone sold its assets to Paul Bunyan, Blackduck Telephone had invested $80,000 into the revolving loan fund to secure a $320,000 grant from Rural Economic Development Source of the federal government. When it was sold to Paul Bunyan, this went with it.

A few directors on the board have expressed support to keep the fund for Blackduck but this has met with some resistance from the CEO and CFO of Paul Bunyan Communications as well as other board members who represent other districts.

The council directed City Administrator Karin Elhard to draft a letter expressing the city's concerns and hopes to keep the fund alive.

"It is our request that you first consider all the economic development that has occurred in our city as a result of this fund and how the need shall only grow stronger during these financially challenging times," the letter stated.

The city also offered their administrative support of assume the authority of the revolving loan program at the city currently has their own, if allowed by the program.

"I know that this is just another example of a tool that had been and could be utilized in this community and we are about to lose it," said councilmember Kevin Beck.

"Who sets the criteria for this?" asked Beck. "If it's an administrative issue, we can take care of it because we already to with our own revolving loan fund," Beck said.

After several more minutes of discussion, the council voted to approve the letter of support for the fund.

The council then moved on to the recommendation by the SCDP Revolving Loan Committee to approve the loan modification request from MAK Property. The motion was approved.

Beck commended Elhard and the city council on the management of city funds when going over the bills, income statements and fund balance reports.

"I think we all do a pretty good job," he said. "And I would just like to acknowledge Karin and council for doing such a good job."

The council was informed that the new squad car would be delivered, hopefully, wednesday and taken to Stretch Auto Body for detailing work.

City Maintenance Supervisor Bob Klug Jr. gave an update on the water meter project. He stated that Nenson Plumbing would begin installing the new meters either this week or next.

Beck read a request from the seventh and eighth grade Junior Olympics volleyball players for a donation for the city for start up costs.

"This team is made up of school students but is not a school sanctioned sport," Beck explained. "They need start up funds to help them out with expenses for going and playing in various tournaments."

After some discussion as to whether the city had donated to this group before or not and how much would it donate, the motion was made and approved to donate $200 to the Junior Olympic volleyball players.