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BDG trims budget for next year

By JIM MAGDEFRAU

NEWHALL – In light of a smaller allocation from the Benton County Board of Supervisors, the Benton Development Group (BDG) last Wednesday night found ways to trim its budget at a meeting in Newhall.

This year the supervisors contributed $52,000 to the countywide development group. Next year the contribution is expected to be $47,000, with a reduction of $5,000.

BDG, which has been in operation since 1989, also relies on a fund-raising drive. The group also gets money from the Benton County Community Foundation for the administration of grants.

Supervisor Ron Buch, who serves as an ex-officio member of the board, pointed out about the county’s contribution, “We’re going the wrong direction. It went down instead of up.” But he added about what the BDG is receiving, “It was tough to get that.”

BDG Vice President Marty Junge asked if other areas were cut, and Buch responded a cut was made to the fair board’s contribution.

The BDG board looked at is operating expenses, and redid the numbers for travel, telephone, meeting expenses and the Internet for a project savings of $5,200.

BDG President David Coulter added the group needs to “do a little more salesmanship.” While the larger communities of Vinton and Belle Plaine have their own development board and directors, smaller communities can’t afford this, which is where BDG comes in.

Coulter stressed this is an important entity, which helped put together the new foundation. The foundation brings in $100,000 annually, to be used for charitable grants.

The budget hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. on March 9 at the courthouse in Vinton.

Other business

In other business at the BDG meeting last Wednesday in Newhall:

Officers were chosen. Returning are Coulter as president, Marty Junge as vice president and Dell Hanson as secretary. Eldon Zumbach replaces Rod Kubichek as treasurer.

Executive Director Ranae Becker gave reports on BDG’s activities. She pointed out Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation will have a new director, Jean Duffy Stanerson, starting March 15. Also in work with Belle Plaine, Kirkwood Community College is planning a “K Talks” program for displaced workers. She also hopes to have a similar session with the Small Business Development Center and area banks.

She also works with Vinton Unlimited. She said they hope to have a new hotel open by the time of Party in the Park this summer. There is also a couple looking at start a winery.

Benton County also takes in a regional development group called Iowa Connections. They are planning to focus on promoting natural foods. They are also attending conferences on wind, bio fuels and breweries. They will also host a workshop on government contracts.

(Editor’s note: Jim Magdefrau is a member of the Benton Development Group)

UPDATED March 2, 2010 11:31 AM

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