City supports closer involvement with MADC

Two members of the Minot City Council would become voting members of the Minot Area Development Corp. board under changes in a proposed contract between the city and MADC.

The Minot City Council’s Finance and Improvements Committee voted Tuesday to recommend the council approve the contract, which would not take effect until the end of February. The committee is recommending the existing contract, which expired Dec. 31, be continued for two months to give MADC time to amend its bylaws to adjust the board membership.

Mayor Curt Zimbelman currently serves on MADC’s eight-member executive board. Under the contract, the mayor or mayoral designee would continue on the executive committee, but two council members also would be added to the general voting board, which now consists of 16 members. Ten members serve in a non-voting capacity.

Other contract changes increase the city’s contribution to MADC from about $441,000 to about $470,000 for 2014 and provide for monthly reporting from MADC to the city. The two-year contract term would change to annual.

Council member Amy Moen sought to remove language that specified that MADC would pursue primary-sector jobs. She supported language stating that the city would “engage MADC to provide service, expertise and resources for job creation and expansion.”

“We are seeing MADC needing to expand to quality-of-life issues such as housing and infrastructure,” she said. “They need to do that to get the primary-sector jobs. We may be limiting them.”

MAGIC Fund guidelines specify that funds be used for primary-sector jobs, but Moen said there is a separation between MADC and the MAGIC Fund. MADC is not funded through the MAGIC Fund but does receive a share of city sales tax designated for economic development, as does the MAGIC Fund.

Moen’s motion died for lack of a second. Council member Bob Miller said the MADC board can decide for itself whether to engage in activities outside the primary sector.

MADC receives private funding from businesses as well as public funds from the city.

The committee also voted to recommend that the city contract for temporary legal services while continuing the search for a new city attorney. City manager David Waind said the city has received two applications for the position but wants to extend the application period in hopes that there will be more interest.

The committee is recommending approval of developer agreements with Beyond Shelter to assist in creating two low- to moderate-income rental projects.

The Fieldcrest project consists of 42 workforce housing units at the intersection of 36th Avenue and Sixth Street Northeast. The city would contribute $850,000 from Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery dollars to acquire land and infrastructure improvements.

The Cook’s Court project consists of 40 affordable senior housing units at 1810-2nd St. SE. The city would contribute $1.2 million to acquire land and street improvements.

The committee is recommending the city sign a letter of support for an affordable family housing project called Norheim Heights, located south of Walmart and west of Joshua Plaza. The letter would support Community Development Inc.’s request for federal low-income housing tax credits for the 36-unit project.