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Beltrami County commissioners approve Con-Con funding for projects

BEMIDJI — Beltrami County commissioners approved distributing $149,500 in Consolidation Conservation (ConCon) funds for northern Beltrami County communities at Tuesday’s county board meeting. A total of $280,400 was requested.

The ConCon Committee met Nov. 4, with representatives from the Kelliher, Waskish and Grygla communities present. Committee members reviewed 20 applications and recommended full funding of eight. Projects in Kelliher, Waskish, Grygla and Minnie Township were approved.

The capital improvement and economic development projects will be funded with $100,000 from ConCon revenue and $49,500 from ConCon reserves.

“Why do we continue to hold reserves on those ConCon funds?” asked Commissioner Jim Lucachick. “Why don’t we get it out there and buy first responders’ vehicles and why don’t we use that stuff to make some impact out in our county?”

Mack explained the ConCon reserves have been built up over time and are available for “awesome” projects that will make a difference in a community.

“The quality of some of these grant applications, they don’t warrant being funded with public money,” Mack said.

Commissioner Jack Frost took issue with funding not being earmarked for aquatic invasive species inspections on Upper Red Lake; $12,000 was requested. He said in addition to the Department of Natural Resources efforts, community money should also be invested.

The projects approved for funds are in communities in Commissioner Tim Sumner’s district. The Big Bog Taxidermy Fund is for an education museum in Waskish. Big Bog was awarded $1,500.

“I think that’s the only matching grant we had with the DNR,” Sumner said. “So, I guess the DNR’s willing to work with us on some things.”

County Auditor/Treasurer JoDee Treat said the ConCon Committee felt it is the DNR’s place to take on aquatic invasive species.

ConCon funded projects

$49,500 - “First Out of Vehicle” (Kelliher/Waskish First Responders)

$12,000 - Grygla Veteran’s Memorial (Holte Grygla Fourtown American Legion)

$10,000 - Sandy’s Community Park Mountain and Upgrades (Waskish Township)

$8,000 - Kelliher/Waskish Senior Meals (Lutheran Social Services)

$4,000 - North Beltrami Community Center (Kelliher)

$3,000 - Beaver Control (Minnie Township)

$1,900 - Spotted Knapweed Control (Minnie Township)

$1,500 - Big Bog Taxidermy Fund (Waskish Township)

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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