A handful of local nonprofit organizations at risk of seeing a major cut in subsidy funds from the city worked out a compromise on Monday with the Mitchell City Council.

Among the 11 organizations that submitted subsidy applications, the Prehistoric Indian Village's request of $17,000 was the lone organization that a council committee recommended to reject due to an incomplete application. But after Cindy Gregg, executive director of the Prehistoric Indian Village, highlighted the “big year” the organization has had thus far, along with the impact it has on the community’s tourism industry, the council changed course and agreed to fund the Indian Village with $13,000.

“I think we’re quite worthy of future support. This year was phenomenal, and we’re breaking records,” Gregg said, noting the month of October has been the second “best” October she’s experienced since leading the Indian Village.

According to City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein, the Prehistoric Indian Village "omitted their financials" from the application, which she noted has been an application requirement every year.

Each year, the city reviews subsidy applications submitted by local nonprofit organizations, which are then reviewed by a committee made up of council members. Combining all of the subsidy applications that were submitted, a total of $611,540 was requested.

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Gregg noted the application snafu was a technical error that she has since resolved. She pointed to the success of the handful of new events the Prehistoric Indian Village added this year, including the Native American Culture Days and Paleo Games, as a sign of the growth and progress that’s being made.

“We filled half of the rooms at the Days Inn. We had people from all over like Montana, Iowa and Missouri come and stay here just for the Paleo Games,” she said. “We are so unique. People have been coming to see just the Indian Village, and then we will point them to the Corn Palace.”

With the strong turnout of the Paleo Games, Gregg said it helped boost the local hotel industry for the weekend it was held at the Indian Village.

Ultimately, Gregg’s positive update on the Indian Village led council member Susan Tjarks to suggest providing the organization with $13,000 in subsidy funds. The council will vote to approve the proposed changes for the nonprofit organizations' subsidies at its next meeting, meaning the dollar figures that were agreed on during Monday's meeting are .

While the council agreed to ease funding cuts for a majority of the nonprofits that submitted to the city, it's still unclear what Dakota Counseling Institute will receive in subsidy funds from the city.

Heading into Monday’s meeting, Dakota Counseling was proposed to see the largest cut from its initial request of $62,000. The committee recommended trimming the requested amount down to $14,300, representing a roughly $48,000 cut, but Michelle Carpenter, executive director of Dakota Counseling, urged the council to reconsider such a drastic reduction.

Carpenter opened the discussion up by saying “we’re struggling.” Like many organizations, the pandemic has taken its toll on Dakota Counseling, Carpenter said. With the spike in mental health issues many in the area have experienced since COVID-19 hit, Carpenter emphasized how vital the services Dakota Counseling provides, which she pointed to as a key reason the group "really needs" the subsidy funding amid rising cases of depression and suicide.

“We’re struggling. The equipment to provide services and emergency services and the weekends and after hours is so taxing,” Carpenter said. “Last year, our nurses helped deal just short of $1 million in medications for our clients. We were struggling before, and COVID-19 has made it more difficult for us.”

Considering the mental health organization provides services for a handful of communities in surrounding area counties, Council member Steve Rice was concerned that Mitchell is the only city within that radius that’s funding it. However, Carpenter said the organization does receive some funding from some surrounding area counties.

“The work you do is phenomenal and we can’t be without it, but the portion that comes from the city taxpayer in a six county area makes it tough for me to make this work,” Rice said, noting it's a county statutory requirement, not a city requirement.

Police Chief Mike Koster added that the Police Department utilizes Dakota Counseling for various services.

The council requested Dakota Counseling provide some additional information prior to making a final decision on what the amount of funds they are willing to consider approving.

Mitchell Main Street and Beyond proposed to receive $35K

Based on the recent success and new events that Mitchell Main Street and Beyond has produced for the downtown Mitchell area this past year under the new leadership of Ashley Endres, the council agreed to back the organization with its initial request of $35,000.

The inaugural Octoberfest that Mitchell Main Street and Beyond recently hosted downtown was deemed a "huge success." Endres said the organization plans to make it an annual staple for the community, along with possibly adding some new events in 2022.

"It was great and well-attended. We have a date picked for next year, and we are enjoying all these new events we're bringing to Mitchell," she said, noting the Octoberfest event drew roughly 1,500 people to the south end of Main Street.

Of the 11 applications that were included in the proposed 2022 budget, the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Regional Economic Development, Mitchell Municipal Band, Mitchell Exchange Club fireworks show and LifeQuest were the groups proposed to receive the full amount of subsidy funds as initially requested.

The CVB — which is the organization that works under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce and markets the city and tourism attractions — is requesting the most funds, amounting to $250,000, followed by the Mitchell Area Development Corporation's request of $167,000.