Murray County hears request to use surplus EDA funds for child care

SLAYTON — At a recent board meeting, the Murray County commissioners were asked to approve the use of revolving loan fund surplus funds for child care grants.

“The county board approved our application for the one-time exception and the use of the funds to help child care providers,” said Amy Rucker, Murray County economic development director/EDA secretary/assistant treasurer.

“Murray County had $20,763.86 in a State Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Revolving Loan Fund,” Rucker said. “We really wanted to get those funds out into the community, but it had been difficult for us to make loans from it due to state requirements not matching up with the needs of our local county businesses who wanted to borrow the funds.”

Acknowledging that many communities throughout the state were also having difficulty deploying their State MIF funds, the Legislature decided this spring to allow a one-time exception permitting flexibility in the use of those funds, Rucker said Wednesday.

“We were asked to submit our intention to take advantage of this exception by June 1,” she said. “The terms of the exception were that we could retain 80 percent of the fund and use it for ‘any lawful purpose’ if 20 percent of the balance was returned to the state. The remaining balance would be $16,611.09.” 

There is a region-wide need for more child care capacity and businesses are having trouble finding people to work which can be exacerbated if people can’t find child care.

“Recognizing that those needs exist in our county as well,” Rucker said, “the Murray County Economic Development Authority decided to recommend to the Murray County Board that we take advantage of the one-time exception and use the remaining funds to make grants to new and existing child care providers in Murray County.

“I will be contacting existing Murray County providers in July after we’ve selected the EDA subcommittee and are ready to roll,” Rucker said. “And I’ll let Human Services and Child Care Aware know of these grant dollars, too, so that they can share that information with potential new providers.”

Rucker said that grant guidelines can be found online at https://murraycountymn.com/ccpgrants/ 

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