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Published November 14, 2012, 02:34 PM

East Grand Forks Mayor's Plan to Fund Nonprofits Raise Questions

East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss wants to give profits from the city’s 125th celebration back to local nonprofit organizations. However, he first needs to find chores for the groups and receive City Council approval.

By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald

East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss wants to give profits from the city’s 125th celebration back to local nonprofit organizations.

However, he first needs to find chores for the groups and receive City Council approval.

“By law, governments can’t give money to charities,” Stauss said. “We have to find jobs for them to do so they can earn the money.”

Stauss was the chairman of the 125th anniversary celebration in August. The city kicked in $26,000 for the celebration — $6,000 for employees’ overtime and $20,000 for the writing and printing of the city’s 125th heritage book.

Stauss proposes that $5,000 of the $34,000 in profits go back to the city, with the rest dedicated to $2,000 or $1,000 donations to local groups.

At Tuesday’s council work session, he handed out information about his plan, but didn’t ask for council approval.

“I want to make sure that we first have enough jobs lined up for them to do,” Stauss said.

The 125th celebration cost $94,000 to stage, with most of the revenue coming from corporate donors.

East Grand Forks recipients of the profits under his plan would be Home Run Club, Blue Line Club, Figure Skating Club, Heritage Foundation, Boosters, District 595 Education Foundation, Sacred Heart Education Foundation, Save Our Pool, Senior Center, Arts Council, Northland Community and Technical College, Veterans of Foreign War Post 3817, American Legion Post 157, Eagles Club 350, Campbell Library and the local Community Foundation.

City Council President Craig Buckalew said he wanted to reserve his opinion until “we find out exactly what we can or cannot do.”

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