EDA addresses loss of its executive director
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:46 AM
The Spring Grove Economic Development Authority (EDA) scrambled to make some adjustments on Jan. 22, mostly because it found itself suddenly without an executive director.
The Spring Grove City Council's decision to eliminate the position of city administrator earlier this month, left the EDA without the services of Theresa Coleman, who also served as their executive director. In addition, Coleman served as the EDA's secretary.
There was also the need to find a new treasurer since outgoing mayor Saundra Solum had filled that EDA position.
The board welcomed mayor-appointed Tammy Stadtler, who will finish Mayor Bruce Poole's term, since he now represents the city on the board as part of his new position.
Commissioners appointed J.C. Nerstad as interim treasurer. The yearly task of electing officers is generally done at the commission's March meeting with terms beginning on April 1.
Until then, secretarial duties such as taking the official minutes will be done by volunteers. Commissioner Robert Vogel performed the task last week.
Vogel suggested looking for some outside help to take over some of the duties that Coleman performed.
CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates) may be able to help, he said, offering to get in touch with CEDA staffers Chris Giesen or Ron Ziegler so that they could address the board at a later date.
"They are literally all over anything south of the middle of the state," Vogel said, "So they'd be close at hand if you wanted a little bit more economic development expertise.
"It's a very efficient way to do that. You can buy what you need. They charge by the hour or go on retainer. If you decided you just wanted somebody to come to the meeting, advise you on EDA stuff, keep track of what you're doing, and make sure you're not violating any laws and sort of supervise at distance the financial and secretarial stuff, you can do that."
Hail damage repairs discussed
A bid from T-N-T Painting and Construction of Spring Grove to repair hail damage at the EDA-owned building at 107 W. Main St. (Winneshiek Medical Center Rehabilitation Center) was accepted.
Even though the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) insurance adjustors had sought bids from several companies, T-N-T was the only one to submit a proposal, offering to do the work for $1,475.
The other EDA owned building to receive damage is located at 123 S. Division Ave. (next to the Post Office).
T-N-T submitted a bid on that job as well, but recommended that the roof not be replaced.
Commissioners decided to table the second offer until they could get more information from LMCIT on the matter.
Loans adjusted/made by board
Two business owners addressed the board.
Kristine Jepsen of Grass Run Farms (GRF) asked commissioners to accept 2013 payments of $300 per month on a revolving loan that the company has with EDA.
The board later voted to accept the offer. GRF had negotiated interest-only payments for 2012, which were less than half that amount.
Joel Strike of Spring Grove Battery asked for a short-term (four-month) loan of $4,000, stating that he needed to take delivery of some supplies from China before holiday celebrations there shutdown offices and left him in the lurch.
"Sales have been increasing each month," Strike reported, adding that he has a part-time employee and may hire full-time help in the future.
Strike didn't ask the board how much interest they would charge on the unsecured loan.
When the topic came up for a vote, commissioners decided to provide the funds for four months without interest charges, but would collect 4 percent if the loan isn't paid off by then.
Commercial lots to be taxed
Members discussed the ongoing issue of seven unsold lots that the EDA owns at the Spring Grove Commercial Park, but took no action for the time being.
"At the end of 20 years, we have to start paying taxes," President Howard Deters reminded members. The tax bill could make a large dent in the EDA's operating budget, totaling nearly $5,000 per year.
According to Deters, the property tax exception that the EDA has enjoyed on the land runs out at the end of 2013.
Main St. Marketing continues
Prior to their regular agenda, commissioners convened a Main Street Marketing session. Local graphics designer, Robin Bartell, asked the board for direction on their "Spring Grove Up and Running" advertising campaign.
Members didn't make any motions to approve specific "Detour Dollars" plans, but Nerstad and Stadtler agreed to meet with Bartell to work up an outline to show to participating business owners.
Kirstin Kammueller of MnDOT offered to have the "Up and Running" logo printed on custom-made signage that will be paid for by MnDOT and placed at barricades on both ends of the official detour, which lies miles from town.
Bartell said she would provide the full-sized mock-up.
Next meeting date
The EDA meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 168 W. Main St. across from the Spring Grove Cinema. The Main Street Marketing meeting begins at 7 p.m. with the regular meeting following.