Delta County Economic Development (DCED) has visited the town councils for Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford. It was looking for funding in the form of membership dues.
A voting member must give a minimum annual amount of $500. A non-voting member gives $100. Each town will consider whether to include the membership investment in its 2013 budget.
Secondly, DCED was seeking a letter of support from each town regarding a $300,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). In a letter explaining the grant, Tom Huerkamp, DCED vice president, wrote, "This grant will assist in our effort of sustaining and growing the Soil Health Initiative currently taking place in Delta and Montrose counties." All three towns wrote letters of support.
The NRCS grant will be used with partners to "evaluate innovative, field-based conservation technologies and approaches" that "should lead to improvements . . . enhancing the water-holding capacity in soils and installing drought tolerant grazing systems, which will help farms and ranches become more resilient to drought," Huerkamp's letter states.
DCED's goal is to have curriculum at Delta-Montrose Technical College to educate the community on soil health practices and help farms and ranches become more resilient to drought conditions.
"We need to pay attention to our soils, not just farm them," Huerkamp said.
DCED's grant application was submitted mid-October.
Sarah Carlquist, DCED director, and Scott Thomassen, board member, gave the presentation in Crawford. Carlquist said DCED is "more go than just show." DCED has gone from a $250,000 annual budget, which Carlquist said was unrealistic, to a $100,000 budget. They now have savings and a budget reserve to use in winning business projects and providing incentives to help companies relocate in Delta County.
"We are focused on retaining our local jobs and strengthening our local economy. And local means all of Delta County, not just Delta," Carlquist said.
They have strengthened the DCED board by adding representatives from DMEA, the school board and agriculture. "Agriculture is huge in this county. It's what makes us tick," she said.
DCED is financially stable and strong.
DCED helped Delta Timber secure a grant to see if a biomass project would be viable. The mill discovered that it would have been a potentially job-killing mistake to move in that direction.
DCED is working to keep the Forest Service in Delta County. They want to purchase property to relocate the Forest Service near the Delta-Montrose Technical College (DMTC). The Forest Service has to leave its current Delta facility and DCED does not want the county to lose those high paying jobs.
DCED would like to help DMTC expand to have student housing.
DCED is part of the local planning team that is working with EagleNet Alliance, which was awarded a statewide $100 million grant to lay fiber optic to improve Internet services. "We are hoping that once that fiber is in place that we can leverage it in some way to . . . bring in more competitive Internet services to the rural areas of the county," Thomassen said.
DCED is the fiscal agent for the Heart and Soul project.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, at Energy Tech in Paonia, DCED will hold its quarterly meeting. The social hour starts at 5 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Guest speakers will be Steve Weist of Oxbow Mining, Weston Norris of West Elk Mine and Dewey Tanner of Bowie Resources. RSVP to Sarah Carlquist at 874-4992. Energy Tech is located at 218 Fourth Street in Paonia.blog comments powered by Disqus