West Central Mountains Economic Development Council
April 14, 2020, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Members in Attendance: Jill Chapman (President), Dylan Martin (Vice-President), Cynda Herrick (Secretary), Julie Good (Treasurer), Sherry Maupin, Linnea Hall, Lindsay Harris, Gene Tyler, Nicole Musgrove, Patty Wold, Thom Sowers, Judith Nissula, and Andrew Mentzer (Executive Director).
Members Absent: None.
- Executive team meeting, open at 2:30pm: There were no checks to sign. Dylan talked about an opportunity with the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, with a deadline of May 15. We would be the go between the organization and the community.
o Agenda discussion: Valley County is only sitting at a below average (approx. 10%) response rate to the Census vs. 48% nationally.
o Executive session closed
- Call to order, regular meeting, 3pm
- Adoption of agenda (ACTION ITEM): Nicole moved to approve agenda with additional items discussion items, a letter of support for Valley Soil and Water for their 319 grant and IDAEYC review, Gene seconded. Motion carried.
- Approval of minutes (ACTION ITEM): Dylan moved to approve the minutes. Sherry seconded. Motion carried.
- Welcome visitors and guests: Delta James, City of McCall; Jenny Henley, Dept. of Commerce, joined the meeting.
- Community reports:
Cascade: City Hall may have significant damage. Trying to figure out how to have public hearings. School will be putting seniors pictures up along the highway.
Donnelly: Gene stated the current condition of Donnelly is severely impacted. The food pantry is stepping up and the school is serving lunches.
McCall: Thom said McCall is doing school lunch delivery. Most of the local businesses are shut down. The library initiative is going strong. Jill said there has been a significant amount of work to handle Covid-19 separate from other patients to provide quality healthcare to all.
New Meadows: Julie stated the city has quite a few projects that they are working on. Just did a coloring contest. Working on relief for utility bills and a way for people to donate to those who are not working. The food bank has increased. Businesses have become very creative.
Valley County: Valley County also has building issues with earthquake, mold, and asbestos; working to get repairs done. Learning new technology. Still working on getting all our plans in place. Waiting for governor’s direction on extension of self-isolation. Trying to get word out to snowbirds to self-isolate. Seasonal laborers are coming to town, along with others.
- Treasurer’s Report (ACTION ITEM): Julie presented the report. Suggested we move funds from the general fund to the administration fund to cover gap in costs between July and October. Discussion concerning making sure we have enough in the executive director salary. Will need to move money from another account. Will have two months between July and October to fund that position. ED Pro funds will go to the county and will not be able to access until the middle of October. Most of the funds in other accounts can be moved. Jill asked that we identify what is ear-marked for other projects and identify the gap. Dylan moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report; Sherry seconded. Motion carried.
Need to move $1,000 from general fund to the administration fund. Nicole moved to move the funds; Patty seconded. Motion carried.
o Invoices/thank you’s for the month: addition of 319 grant for Valley Soil and Water–approved at the end of the meeting, since the agenda needed to be amended.
- Scenic Byways update (DISCUSSION): Andrew stated there is a meeting scheduled for April 24. Ran through the proposed agenda, inventory discussion, approval of sign placement at Snowpark, speed limit discussion, and how to make comments.
- Grants (open/future): Had a statewide zoom call and traded notes on EDPro grant. Sounds like the state will roll out full funding shortly, applications due by June 1. We will write the grant, but the county will submit on our behalf. Typically, Valley County has matched for $25K and we will need a letter of intent.
Jenny Hemly said there are concerns with donations for the match for the grant for many organizations statewide. County would be happy to reach out to the state for participation with the Covid-19 funds being an appropriate use for economic development. Discussed recovery process and vital part of our ED Pros duties statewide.
Some of our push to our donors will be alternative ways to participate. Folks not needing stimulus funds can make a contribution to WCMEDC or any other nonprofit.
Jenny said there is a state push for support of retailers and restaurants, etc. through July. Perhaps WCMEDC can help coordinate efforts to support the businesses. Spend local initiative, Idaho strong initiative, etc. We need to get the word out on how to stimulate the economy.
Andrew threw out a challenge to the board to share ideas for messaging on social media, and spend some of the marketing budget on promotions.
Julie moved to spend up to $240 on a marketing effort to get people to go out and promote small businesses. Sherry seconded. Motion carried.
o EDPro (DISCUSSION)
▪ Need commitments from partners and County in the next few weeks–letters in hand
o Weiser River Trail: New Meadows grant administration–USDA/GEM (DISCUSSION)
Have a grant application in to USDA rural development and a gem grant will be written next month.
o Packer John revitalization (DISCUSSION)
This is recommended to be tabled until further notice on the status of the weiser river trail grants.
o NPS recreational/trails assistance workshop April 22–POSTPONED (DISCUSSION)
Postponed until future effort.
- Education and workforce development:
o Talent Pipeline Management Academy through IACI–approval of Andrew’s participation (ACTION ITEM) – discussed the time commitment. The model is very similar to what we have built as our local work force development model. Cynda moved to request that Andrew participate. Gene seconded. Motion carried.
o Cascade SBA training April 21–POSTPONED (DISCUSSION) – did a local chamber zoom meeting instead, alongside chambers, about Paycheck Protection and EIDL options for small businesses. 42 people attended.
o Construction Pre-Apprenticeship with AGC–POSTPONED (DISCUSSION)
o Culinary Pre-Apprenticeship in Cascade–POSTPONED (DISCUSSION)
o Update on BSU meetings/game plan (DISCUSSION): this will be a 4-year degree that can be deployed locally. Should be up and running this fall.
- Community Projects/Infrastructure
o Coronavirus update (DISCUSSION) – ED Pros in the area and grant writers have been working together on the Cares Act. Emphasis on St Lukes in McCall and the downtown revitalization program in McCall, but these options have been made available to the county and other cities as well.
Broadband conversation has been elevated. Jenny said the state is under a hiring freeze, so it is up in the air right now as to who will be administering at the state in the long term, but for now the BRE manager is the lead at Commerce.
o Recycling update (DISCUSSION): McCall generally not supportive of having the recycling center remain in the current location. Ongoing discussions about the county centralizing the facility in Lake Fork, as well as consideration for an alternate plan from a community group.
o Monument signs update (DISCUSSION)–to be reviewed at the Scenic Byway meeting April 24th.
o Cascade seasonal wayfinding update (DISCUSSION): Awaiting guidance from Idaho State Parks to move things forward.
- Business retention and expansion (DISCUSSION)
o Business outreach update–8 BRE visits (some remote)
- Economic Summit update (DISCUSSION)–to be resumed shortly.
- Marketing–update on fundraising to date (DISCUSSION): to be resumed in May
o BSU hire and our downstream assistance needs (split position?): There may be an opportunity to hire a part time person (contractor) alongside BSU’s local admin for this fall.
Strategic Plan Review–will be revising the delivery of planned items to include addition of coronavirus response and reallocating events that have been postponed.
Valley Soil & Water Conservation District Letter of Support–Valley Soil and Water Conservation District has asked for a letter of recommendation for the 319 grant that they are applying for with the park service. Cynda moved to authorize sending the letter. Dylan seconded. Motion carried.
Stibnite Foundation Grants – grant cycle is open and they have $50,000 to deploy. The focus will be towards the COVID-19 assistance. WCMEDC may apply for future cycles, but has assisted with setting up some elements of their grant making framework and wouldn’t want to appear to have any conflicts of interest in the first grant cycle. May be able to leverage to get funds for the child development program and getting a part-time person to assist in future rounds.
Census Discussion–we need to get the word out about digital options. Andrew and Lindsey to meet with McKenzie next week to discuss social media and email blast options.
Round Table, Upcoming Events & Public Comments: McCall school will not resume this year. Cascade has not decided.
Discussed businesses looking for help.