CHEDA approves 2022 budget, gets update on Epitome Energy

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

The Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority board passed its 2022 budget at their recently rescheduled meeting in January at Valley Technology Park after their December meeting was postponed due to weather. CHEDA Executive Director Robert Barnes told the Times there were some changes to the budget per board direction and the updated copy will soon be available.

The CHEDA board also approved their 2022 meeting dates with meetings held on the third Tuesday at VTP plus a time change of 12 p.m. straying away from the previous 7 a.m. meetings. 2022 CHEDA board meetings will be held January 18, March 15, April 19, May 17, July 19, September 20, October 18, and December 20.

Barnes mentioned in an earlier conversation with the Times that there were a few items he wanted to see in the 2022 budget which included an additional staff member to assist Housing Specialist & Supervisor Theresa Tahran, funding for a CHEDA administrative assistant, part-time help for staff member Bill Tate, who is the head of maintenance at Oak Court Apartments, plus funds to assist with a small renovation project at Oak Court to provide adequate office space for staff and clients. 

"The office at Oak Court now is really functioning more like a storage unit so Theresa and Bill are working on a remodel plan for an office that's clean and sufficient that's also for clients so things are done on a professional basis," Barnes explained.

EPITOME ENERGY UPDATE

On the Epitome Energy front, CHEDA board members were informed that CEO Dennis Egan had "collateralized" his loan through the City and CHEDA with a life insurance policy equal to the amount of the loan. The extension of Epitome's loan will be back on CHEDA's agenda for discussion at their January 18 meeting.

The CHEDA board previously voted to extend the loan for Epitome Energy to September 30, 2022 with the intent that CEO Dennis Egan would come back to them at their December 21 meeting with documentation of collateral for the board to consider. The initial loan agreement from CHEDA had no collateral in place and, with an extension, City Attorney Corky Reynolds suggested at that time for Epitome to provide collateralization to give the city a level of reassurance.

"The Epitome Energy project has been around for a couple years now and not only is the loan being extended, but we're starting to get site plans and utility numbers, and making some preliminary studies on what it would take to service this plant if the rest of his (Egan) items come through," Barnes told the Times. "We'll have a conversation on how that will look and what it means for the city."

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