Joint Powers plans '05 spending

By Tom Coombe

It's still 10 months away, but the Ely Area Joint Powers Board is already looking ahead to 2005. <BR><BR>Members have approved a budget for next year even though the current year is only two months old.<BR><BR>The budget, calling for spending of just over $93,000, is set months in advance so that Morse Township's share of expenditures can be acted upon by residents attending this week's annual meeting.<BR><BR>And while the Joint Powers group has focused largely on economic and community development issues since its inception eight years ago, the 2005 budget includes two new items, both related to services shared by area residents.<BR><BR>All four participating entities - Ely, Winton, Morse and the Ely School District - will combine to contribute $7,154 for recycling center operations while Ely, Morse and Winton are scheduled to contribute $39,426 toward the operation of the Ely Public Library.<BR><BR>The library contribution is the result of a formula based on population and library use, and divides spending equally among residents in the Joint Powers area.<BR><BR>It reflects just part of the library budget, because Ely receives local government aid money which is earmarked for the library. Townships receive no LGA.<BR><BR>The Joint Powers budget includes a $23,256 contribution to the Ely Area Development Association for economic development services in 2005, as well as a $13,064 allocation to the same group for administration services.<BR><BR>Revenue for the Joint Powers is derived from $1,000 annual membership fees from Ely, Winton, Morse and the school district, as well as a per capita contribution from Ely ($26,527), Morse ($8,754) and Winton ($1,317) for general operations.<BR><BR>Ely, Winton and Morse are also on the hook for the previously noted allocations for the library and recycling operations, as well as a $7,156 contribution to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for small business development counseling services.<BR><BR>