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BDG looks at budget; foundation receives 41 applications for funds


GARRISION – The Benton County Community Foundation and the Benton Development Group had their meetings last Wednesday at the Garrison Fire Station.

The Foundation elected officers, reelecting David Coulter as president, John Mossman as vice president, and Ranae Becker as secretary. David Becker replaces Rod Kubichek as treasurer.

The foundation members received 41 applications for this year’s round of funding, which comes from state gambling revenues. Benton County has $94,606.31 to give this year, which is down by $2,000 due to a decline in gambling revenues. The foundation plans to meet May 12 at the Van Horne Legion Hall to decide how to distribute the funds to the nonprofit organizations who submitted applications. A total of $270,000 was submitted.

The BDG board looked at its budget adjustments after a $5,000 decline in county funding. BDG plans to make up for this with fund-raising and help from the foundation, plus major cuts in travel and office supplies.

BDG executive director Ranae Becker gave a summary of her activities the past month.

She is working with the newly formed Vinton Today website, which is a new nonprofit group that was created  when the website software for the Vinton Eagle was not acquired by the sale of the  newspaper  to the Cedar Valley Times. The group  is  looking to become an interactive news resource, and are looking for information from the communities surrounding Vinton.

Becker also had a regional meeting with Kirkwood on the future of the corridor. BDG members want to make sure the corridor business alliance works with the counties served by the Kirkwood area, and not just the urban counties of Johnson and Linn.

Becker has been active with the Highway 30 Coalition, which completed an impact survey along the Highway 30 corridor. She will now work with the Cedar Rapids office of the Iowa Department of Transportation to help apply for appropriations to add two lanes to Highway 30 in Benton County, from Highway 218 to Highway 21.

In other updates, she said Fiber Right, who is now at the ethanol plant in Blairstown, had its pre-application approved for the Iowa Power Fund. They are still working on a pilot project at the plant.

She has also been in contact with an Italian firm, and a biomass company.

BDG is hosting the Small Business Development Center  in a meeting with Benton County  banks  on April  29 in Vinton to overview programs/partnerships.

An Economic Development luncheon to be held in Belle Plaine the first part of May will focus on  Kirkwood  and its  job training and displaced worker  programs .

She is also planning a meeting with Alliant Energy so they can become more active in the communities of Benton County.

UPDATED April 10, 2010 10:53 AM

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