Organization may be formed to operate childcare center.

The EDA Board designated forty-five minutes of their Dec. 19 meeting listening to information presented by Brad DeVos. Brad is an employee of Schwartz Farms. He has offered his services as a consultant for addressing the early childcare center situation here in Sleepy Eye. He is doing this on behalf of Schwartz Farms because of their dedication and involvement in community service. Brad has experience in setting up a non-profit to run a childcare center, as he was on the Childcare Center Board in St. Peter when they had the same situation as we have here in Sleepy Eye.

Brad addressed the EDA Board and shared his expertise with them on the structure, challenges and details, of setting up a childcare facility. He described specifics on the structure of the childcare center board and it being made up of parents, business and community members. He discussed what the rates should be for each of the three age groups of children, he thought the current rates were a bit low and he suggested a three-day rate, a four-day rate, and a five-day rate. Each additional day rate being slightly less costly than the fewer day rate. He also addressed not offering “drop-in care” due to the staffing /planning challenges that presents. Due to timing constraints in getting this established, he felt that the current Sleepy Eye Area Foundation Board could begin as the non-profit entity that this center would operate under. This is needed in order for licensure of the center. A board, separate board from the aforementioned group, eventually could evolve to become the group that controls the center. Brad also strongly suggested that a local outside accounting firm be hired to do payroll and taxes.

Misty Riebel was present, as a parent representative, and as one of the resource people in helping obtain licensure for the center. Mark Beito was present as SEAF Board Chairman. The SEAF Board planned to meet on Dec. 21 to address this situation. Mayor Pelzel also attended the meeting.

The Board meeting then converted back to its regular meeting agenda. The three financial reports, EDA Coordinator Report, and Chamber Director Report were all accepted as printed. Two bills were accepted for annual membership fees to EDAM (Economic Development Association of Minnesota) and GMPT (Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails.)

The Board tabled discussion on the property on the corner of Highways 4 and 14, as well as the upcoming proposal presentation by Elia Bruggeman to the City Council and EDA Board regarding future use of the former Orchid Inn facility. The Board will continue discussion on these and numerous other topics/ideas at their annual January Planning Meeting—an evening meeting when the EDA Board spends a couple hours discussing ideas and setting goals for the coming year.

Happy New Year!