The first meeting of 2020 for Richland Economic Development Corps (REDC) began with a report from the nominating committee at the meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Shane Gorder and Tami Christensen remain county and city liaisons for REDC, respectively.
“We have one slight change,” said Leslie Messer, REDC executive director. “Mr. Bill Henderson, who represents our airport, has agreed to move into an honorary position so that we can have six full one-year placements to broaden our cross section of people and what they’re representing.”
Messer told the board Lee Candee with Agri Industries is willing to be the agriculture and irrigation representative and Jen Doty with Sidney Health Center has agreed to be the healthcare representative.
Other one-year placements include Jason Brothen, Blaine Rogers, Dave Garland and Brandon Taylor.
New officers for REDC board include Cami Skinner, president; Leif Anderson, vice president; Pam Burman, secretary; and Vanessa Pooch, treasurer.
American Harvest, the new hemp processing plant in Sidney, is gearing up for some state funding. Messer filled the board in based on a discussion REDC had with economic developers out of Billings.
“American Harvest is really ramping up,” Messer said. “They would like to try for some state funds called Big Sky Trust Funds for employee development and offsetting of some of the workforce training.”
Previously, Big Sky Trust Funds were only available to organizations under a multi-county jurisdiction, a model that is no longer upheld in Montana.
“They have since changed that. We are not part of a multi-county jurisdiction, but Billings is,” Messer said. “When we were talking to American Harvest, we referred them to either Wolf Point or Billings because we couldn’t (help) based on what we knew in the past.”
Since the model has been revamped, REDC will be serving administrative arm for American Harvest to assist in the process of securing grant funding.
“Most of the grant writing itself has to be done by the entity,” Messer said. “But we would help oversee, help with the state connections, and then we have to go to the county commissioners and make sure this is something they are interested in doing.”
A public hearing would also be held at the county level. Since Billings can’t assist American Harvest because of their location, they agreed to help REDC throughout the process.
“We will be helping American Harvest to take a deeper look at that to see how and if those funds are something they’re wanting to try for,” Messer said.
In other news
Sidney Young Professionals (SYP) raised over $4,000 worth of school supplies last month.
The next event will be Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6-8 p.m., at the Meadowlark Public House.
SYP will be manning one route of the Meals on Wheels program from April 27 — May 8 and is looking for volunteers.
REDC will be acting as the clearing house for the Richland County Fair Board and Richland County Commissioners for a gun sale in honor of the fair’s centennial this summer. A gun will be engraved and sold. REDC would not have any responsibility for the sales or gun, but will merely track and hold funds until it’s over. REDC will not make any money for the task, but the service is needed as the county can not hold the funds.
The next REDC meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 6:45 a.m., at Sidney Health Center.