Sourcewell, of Staples, is involved with the majority of government entities within the PineandLakes Echo Journal coverage area, from Backus to Nisswa, and Lake Shore to Crosslake.

The organization has provided varied services, including zoning, facilitating cooperative purchases and providing matching grants and training opportunities.

"Sourcewell provided the service of being the 'zoning experts' for the city," said Pine River City Clerk Terri Dabill. "So any questions related to zoning goes to them."

Most area governments have used services from Sourcewell for one purpose or another.
Most area governments have used services from Sourcewell for one purpose or another.

"Backus has not worked with Sourcewell a whole lot, but they do provide a lot of services that have helped us financially," said Backus City Clerk Ann Swanson.

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"The city of Nisswa appreciates the programs and initiatives Sourcewell offers," said Nisswa City Administrator Jenny Max. "Sourcewell has a robust planning and zoning department and they assist cities either on a temporary or long-term basis with their planning and zoning needs.

"Nisswa has utilized their P&Z services and we have been very pleased with their staff’s knowledge and quality of work," Max said. "We have also recently participated in their Community Match Fund program to help assist with the purchase of new office chairs for our staff. Nisswa also uses their cooperative purchasing program to find the best pricing on equipment, and it saves us time because Sourcewell completes the necessary steps required by state statute for government purchasing."

Often, Sourcewell has added trainings and services upon request from area cities.

"I believe it seems Sourcewell in and of itself has developed, which is very beneficial to small cities like ours," said Dabill.

Sourcewell is also involved in hosting the annual Students of Character and Educators of Excellence honors, which recognize graduating seniors and area educators. The campus in Staples is traditionally the site of the regional spelling bee.

Sourcewell is one of nine regional agencies formed by the Minnesota Legislature in the 1970s to pool resources to make operation of smaller units of government more attainable. Sourcewell serves Cass, Wadena, Todd, Morrison and Crow Wing counties.

The accompanying graphic to this story provides an abbreviated illustration of recent services Sourcewell has provided to area governments within the Echo Journal coverage area based on information from clerks, administrators and a superintendent.

Look for a story that appeared in the May 19 print edition of the Echo Journal explaining what Sourcewell is and what the organization does online at pineandlakes. com. Specifically, search "So who, and what exactly is 'Sourcewell'?" or visit pineandlakes.com/news/government-and-politics/7032603-So-who-and-what-exactly-is-Sourcewell

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.