Ceylon hears from ‘Ignite’

CEYLON — “Ignite,” the economic development group of Martin County, presented its resource agenda to the Ceylon City Council this week.

Ignite representatives Steve Fosness, Scott Higgins, Wes Anderson, Tom Mahoney, Tim Terfehr and Elliot Belgard spoke about the group’s purposes. It does not loan money but works with lenders and helps with business plans.

The business facilitator and consultant, Brian Stading, explained some of the free and confidential resources for entrepreneurs and those wishing to start or expand a business, and those wishing to come to Ceylon or grow a business in Ceylon. Ignite can help all industries, including agriculture, internet or home-based, not just brick-and-mortar sites.

One way Ignite may help in a community is by aiding businesses in acquiring buildings the city owns. The business usually updates and repurposes the building. Representatives explained it as a win-win situation, because even if a business does not thrive, in 10 years the city will get the building back and it will have seen improvements and maintenance. This is a better use of a property that is still usable as compared to demolishing a building.

Council members asked questions about the broadband partnership with Frontier. The 80 percent of Martin County that the broadband contract with Frontier covers does not include Ceylon and Dunnell. Council members said they realize Frontier is in a cash crunch but say it is still obligated to finish the broadband project.

In other business, the council:

o Hired a new city employee, Travis Lang. He will begin Sept. 23. He will be tutored by a former employee, Jim Plumhoff, under a contract that will give Ceylon a licensed water treatment worker until Lang can get his license.

o Heard a report from the City Clerk, who announced that the water treatment plant loan has been paid off.

o Approved a $5,500 bid from Wayne Walter for demolition of the mural building next to the car wash, pending an asbestos inspection.

o Discussed the 2020 budget, with council members bringing a list of projects they would like to keep in the budget and those that could be cut.

o Approved disagreeing with the turnback of Highway 263 to the county from the state highway system because of winter cleanup and other issues. The Legislature has yet to approve the turnback.

o Learned that the fire association will get another truck for about $6,000, to use as second water truck. The group received $17,000 from the Martin County Area Foundation for new turn-out gear to replace outdated gear.

o Learned that the next meeting of the City Council will be 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at City Hall.