10 W Fallon Ave Baker, MT 59313
Fallon County of Montana

EMEDA Commissioner Meeting – July 11th 2023

EMEDA Commissioner Meeting – July 11th 2023

EMEDA Eastern Montana Economic Development Authority

Commissioner Meeting

July 11, 2023 at 6:30pm

SMART Conference Room

Members Present:
Chairman Steve Zachmann, Treasurer Karol Zachmann, Commissioners Melissa Higbee, Tasha Losing

and “Cookie” Zenko

Members Absent: Vice Chair Carson Beach

Staff Present: Executive Director Vaughn Zenko

Meeting called to order: 6:32pm by Steve Zachmann

Approval of Last Meeting Minutes: Melissa motioned to approve the general meeting minutes from June 13, 2023. Cookie seconded. All in favor, minutes approved. 
The Commissioners also reviewed the minutes from the Special Meeting on June 30, 2023 regarding Fallon County’s leasing of land to EMEDA for purposes of the Wild Roots Community Food Forest. Karol motioned to approve the minutes as written. Cookie seconded. No discussion. All present in favor. Special meeting minutes approved.

Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person):  none

Financial Report: EMEDA had a net income of $50,995.38 for the June-July period. There are $678,213.46 in total assets, of which $125,158.17 remains in the general operating fund. Chairman Zachmann questioned why there is a Quickbooks note for the Façade Improvement Grant that lists both a positive $12,735.00 and a negative $12,735.00. Vaughn noted that this was in order to reconcile an accounting error by the previous Executive Director where she was trying to set up the FIG in Quickbooks as a separate account but instead listed it as income and, as far as he knows, once an income is entered, it cannot be removed by Quickbooks. Steve said Assistant Shannon Johnson should contact Rachel’s Accounting and see if they can correct the issue.

Monthly Claim Forms Review: The board reviewed claims of $3,000 for the Executive Director’s hours and $300 in administrative assistance to SMART. Karol motioned to approve all claims. Melissa seconded.  All in favor. Motion approved, June-July monthly claims of $3,300 will be paid.
No further discussion.

Director’s Report:  Vaughn reported that the new Community Theater had a successful run with their performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with almost 400 people attending and earning over $9,000 profit for future productions.  He also reported that he pulled back EMEDA’s grant application with Grid United’s Community Investment Program for ADA access to the new childcare facility, as the Shepherd house was no longer an option.

Old Business:

               Baker Child Care Project:  Vaughn informed the board that he had talked with the County Commissioners as to why they rejected EMEDA’s resolution requesting a Mill Levy for child care support. He said that the Commissioners informed him that the 15-year term on the mill levy just included too many variables. They requested a shorter time frame, suggesting a two year term would be more satisfactory.  Karol motioned to rewrite the original resolution to instead request two mills over two years for Child Care Project assistance, and to secure the services of Dorsey and Whitney in Missoula to write the new resolution. Cookie seconded. All present in favor, motion approved.
Vaughn also informed the board that Shawna Sargent of Action For Eastern Montana (Head Start) was in contact with Vesta Modulars about two custom modular buildings to be placed on the Nelson Property, one to house Head Start, the other for the Baker Child Care Project. Vaughn said he requested a $400,000 budget for each modular.  Vaughn said that the two modulars would create a similar number of slots as the Shepherd House and for a similar expense to what EMEDA had been willing to pay on the Shepherd option, so would not significantly change EMEDA’s budget estimates or business plan for the facility.  Karol asked if the workforce housing the board had discussed in December/January was still available and at what cost. Vaughn said the smaller of the workforce modulars was $184,500. Steve also added that only one was available, so would not fit EMEDA’s needs. Karol suggested EMEDA purchasing a Vesta Modular for Head Start and the workforce modular for EMEDA in order to save money. Vaughn said he would wait to hear back from Shawna on the actual costs for the Vesta Modulars and proceed accordingly.

               Wild Roots Community Food Forest: Vaughn met with the Commissioners on Monday to inform them of EMEDA’s decision at the June 30 special meeting to accept the agreement to lease County land to EMEDA for purposes of the Food Forest. At the original meeting, the idea presented by the County Commissioners had been that the land would be given to EMEDA, although at the Monday meeting, the Commissioners had agreed to lease the land to EMEDA instead. Chairman Zachmann speculated that the reasoning behind the County’s decision to lease instead of giving the land to EMEDA was to give the County a way to not have to open it up to anyone else to use the property. Steve suggested that leasing the land to another County entity avoids the typical public meeting rules that would come with a land donation and the County was skirting laws that they’re supposed to follow, but that EMEDA is bound by those same laws and cannot simply lease the land and give it to Lacey Berg for the Food Forest without holding the required public notice and meetings. Vaughn said that, in this case, EMEDA is not giving the land to Ms. Berg, but taking on the Food Forest as an EMEDA project, with Lacey acting as EMEDA’s representative in charge of the project.  Steve suggested that before accepting the agreement EMEDA needs to make sure they are not obligated, legally, to the project. Tasha motioned to agree to accept the lease of the land and to sub-lease it to Lacey Berg, contingent upon an attorney’s opinion that the agreement between the County, EMEDA, and Lacey Berg is legal.  Karol seconded. All in favor, motion carried. Steve requested that Vaughn contact City Attorney Rich Batterman for a legal opinion on the Food Forest arrangement with Fallon County.

Vaughn also presented to the board a draft MOU with Lacey Berg for operating the Food Forest on EMEDA’s behalf. One change was suggested in Section 5 under Legal Basis regarding Restoration. Chairman Zachmann suggested the wording be changed from:  AS dictated by Fallon County to IF dictated by Fallon County.  Cookie motioned to accept the MOU with the changes. Melissa seconded. Motion approved. The MOU will be presented to Lacey Berg for her review.

               Event Advertising Grants (Friends of FMC, Baker Chamber):  Two separate Advertising Grants were submitted to EMEDA this month. As dictated in the grant, the boards of SMART and the Baker Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture review the grants for approval. The first application was for the Friends of FMC “Fun on the 4th in Fallon County” event over the Fourth of July. The application came in after the deadline, although the contact said they sent it in earlier but there had been server problems at FMC that may have prevented the application from arriving. SMART and the Chamber both reviewed the grant and accepted it for $800.00.  The second application was for the Chamber of Commerce’s Crazy Dayz and Crazy Nightz Event on July 21-22. The Chamber board recused themselves from judging the application. SMART’s board approved it for $1,000.  Karol motioned to accept both board’s recommendations on the grants. Cookie seconded. Motion approved. Pending necessary documentation, Friends of FMC will receive $800 and the Baker Chamber will receive $1,000 for their respective events.

               Other Old Business: None

New Business:  

               Annual Review of EMEDA Mission:  Deferred to a future meeting due to time constraints.

               Annual Review of Commissioners’ Obligations and Duties:  Deferred to future meeting. Steve requested a copy of EMEDA’s by-laws be sent to the Commissioners for their review.

               Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget:  Vaughn presented the Commissioners with a Draft Budget indicating $28,420 income for FY24. After review, the board suggested that Capital Expense should remain a line item, but not include Meeting Expenses as in the presented budget. Instead they would like Meeting Expenses to be added as a separate Line Item.
The Façade Improvement Grant was once again allocated $30,000, after only issuing $17,625.16 in FY23. Chairman Zachmann requested a review of the rules of the FIG at a future meeting.

Vaughn had placed the EMEDA Advertising budget item at $600. Chairman Zachmann requested that number be upped to $1,000 due to anticipated advertising for the Child Care Project.
Marketing budget was approved at $500, with some discussion about EMEDA increasing their marketing for the upcoming year regarding project promotion and board recruitment.
Travel / Conference fees were proposed at $1,000. After FY23 costs were noted to be $1,663.81, Chairman Zachmann requested the budget be raised to $2,000 for this item.

Professional Services was budgeted $1,260. The board agreed that an additional $5,000 should be included for anticipated expense for the updated Mill Levy Request from Dorsey & Whitney. The new line item is $6,260.

The expenses on the Nelson Property were proposed at $1,200 to account for Insurance, Utilities and other fees. This item was raised to $10,200 to include the anticipated SID expense.
All other items in the proposed budget were approved as written, giving EMEDA an expected income of $129,500 and expected expense of $118,680, for a net income of $10,820 in FY24.
Karol motioned to approve the budget with the noted changes. Melissa seconded. Five in favor, none opposed, one absent. FY24 budget approved with changes.

Having no other business to attend to, Karol motioned to adjourn the meeting. Melissa seconded. All present in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 8:20pm

The next meeting date is TBD at 6:30pm in the SMART Conference Room

                 s\ Steve Zachmann, Chairman                                                                                 s\ Vaughn Zenko, Executive Director