Its membership is significantly different than the work group suggested by Shannon Stassen last week

    An advisory committee that will work through various components of the deal seeking to bring Epitome Energy to Crookston is set to have its initial sit-down on Tuesday, July 9, CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth reports.

    Hoiseth says the group was put together by CHEDA Board President Kurt Heldstab. In addition to Heldstab himself, members include CHEDA Board member Betty Arvidson, Crookston City Council members Don Cavalier, Dale Stainbrook and Jake Fee, Craig Buness, and Nick Nicholas.

    The advisory committee has been formed with the primary intent of evaluating the possible incentives being made available to Epitome Energy, Hoiseth said, with the first item on the to-do list, the potential $1.25 million one-year, interest-free loan to Epitome Founder Dennis Egan that could potentially move up construction of the soybean crush and biodiesel facility to 2020 instead of 2021. That loan, a potential land option agreement with Egan on 100 acres of City-owned property on Crookston’s southern edge, and other matters would all be part of a necessary business subsidy agreement with Egan and Epitome Energy.

    The committee’s meetings will be public in nature, subject to open meeting laws, Hoiseth notes.

    What remains to be seen is if the advisory committee put together by Heldstab will suffice in its current form. At last week’s city council Ways & Means Committee meeting, City Administrator Shannon Stassen, in his memo to council members, indicated that a “work group” would be comprised of himself, Mayor Guy Martin, two council members, two CHEDA Board members, City Finance Director Angel Weasner, Hoiseth, two representatives of the City’s municipal financial advisors, Springsted, Inc., special legal counsel James Strommen and Martha Ingram, and bond counsel Dick Heide. City Attorney Charles “Corky” Reynolds would lead the group, Stassen indicated.

    The Times emailed Stassen Tuesday evening to see if he/the City was fine with the advisory committee put together by Heldstab, or if he would still seek to form the work group he suggested last week.

    The Times had not heard from Stassen at press time Wednesday.