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SUPERIOR — The city’s Program Commission was left with a $20,362 surplus in its modest enterprise grant system final year, providing commissioners an chance Wednesday, March 15, to reconsider how funding is awarded.

Funded at $200,000 annually considering that its inception in 2019, the system has awarded 45 grants for a total of $572,478 to assistance virtually $three million in projects, mentioned Stephanie Becken, arranging assistant.

“This year we have a small bit of a surplus, so we have an chance to appear at and make any alterations to how the allocation procedure operates,” Becken mentioned.

The grants have been awarded on a quarterly basis more than the final year prior to that they had been awarded on a initially-come, initially-served basis till the dollars ran out. Just after the dollars ran out about half-way by way of the year in 2021, the commission altered the system to quarterly awards.

3 quarters in calendar year 2022 had fewer grants than the $50,000 accessible in every single, but the second quarter grants awarded in June had much more eligible projects than accessible funding. The discrepancy prompted the commission to cut down some grant awards and roll more than unspent funds from the earlier quarter to cover most of the requests. In 2022’s second quarter, the commission awarded $73,548 in modest enterprise grants as a discretionary matter.

Becken mentioned the city could have funded all the requests in complete final year with a small bit left more than if the grant requests hadn’t all come in throughout the second quarter.

Commissioners had been divided on how to commit the surplus. 4 members had been in assistance of a proposal by Commissioner Brent Fennessey to allocate the surplus funds for added help for historic renovations. 5 members favored rolling more than the surplus so added funding would be accessible to all modest enterprise owners when grant requests exceed the accessible funding in any quarter.

A motion to reallocate the funds for historic renovation projects failed.

“I do not want to reduce our modest enterprise owners quick,” mentioned Commissioner Garner Moffat.

As a supporter of historic preservation, Moffat mentioned he believes preservation ought to be treated separately from the modest enterprise grant system.

“Any dollars left more than ought to keep in the fund ahead of we place it anyplace else,” Commissioner Dennis Dalbec mentioned. “That’s what we created this system for.”

The 2023 grant system was adopted devoid of any alterations.

The commission did adopt a new application for the modest enterprise grant system that added a query about no matter if the project is in a historical constructing or neighborhood.

Becken mentioned the purpose of the query is to determine potentially historic properties to encourage conversations with the city’s historic preservation committee, a panel of professionals in historic preservation. The answer to that query would have no bearing on eligibility for the grant system, she mentioned.

Shelley Nelson

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group considering that 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram considering that 2006. Speak to her at 715-395-5022 or

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