The Spring Grove EDA lacked a quorum on Jan. 28, but took the time to hold some discussions anyway.

One topic was finding dates where more members can attend meetings. Two members were ill last week, so only three out of seven attended. Those included Howard Deters, JC Nerstad and Tammy Stadtler. Mayor Bruce Poole is automatically a member due to his elected position. City Councilman Robert Vogel represents that body. The other members are Eric Ostern and Roger Bender.

The EDA has lacked a quorum three times in the last seven months. Despite discussions, a more convenient date and time to meet did not present itself to those who attended on Tuesday.

According to the agenda, the board would have probably elected officers for 2014. Another item that was on the list was approving an incubator lease agreement for a vacancy at that facility.

Members did review their latest financial statement, which showed a checking balance of $137,778 in EDA coffers. The organization also holds $155,950 in outstanding loans.

The Spring Grove City Council voted to slash its annual support for the EDA from $27,000 per year to $7,000 on Dec. 3. That ballot passed by a slender (3-2) margin.

Deters noted that the group will need to re-evaluate its 2014 budget due to the cut.

The proposed budget included staffing needs, advertising/marketing, repairs to the incubator building and funding for other business support and retention programs, such as EDA-sponsored "Fix-Up Fund" matching grants which store owners can use to improve facades.

By consensus, members decided to schedule a budget workshop during their next meeting. "We're just going to have to prioritize," Deters said.

Nerstad noted that the group's advertising budget could suffer. "It's in the city's hands," he said.

Members discussed asking Houston County EDA coordinator Rick Howden to visit in February. Howden actually works for CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates), which contracts with Houston County.

The organization could provide expertise on revolving loans and provide help with grant writing, business development, business start-ups, reformulating existing businesses and drawing up business plans, Stadtler reported.

"Do you want to talk to them?" Deters asked. The answer was a definite "yes."

It won't be the first time the EDA has met with the organization. In February of 2013, President/CEO Ron Zeigler attended an EDA meeting. He reported that one of CEDA's smaller contracts provides a staffer to one city for one day every other week. That costs $10,550 annually.

"We're non-profit and we have about a million dollar budget," Ziegler said at that meeting. "There are 15 of us on staff...we aren't out to gouge anybody. Our goal is to show a $100,000 profit at the end of the year, break even or finish plus or minus a little bit. Our whole goal is to try to get jobs, tax base and improve quality of life, those types of things."

Ziegler also said that "In all of our communities, typically our staff is responsible for setting your agendas, taking and writing minutes, setting up board packets, financial reports, making sure there's a quorum.... But I think you wouldn't want to hire us just to do that. I think there's much more that we can bring to the table than just doing the administrative aspect of it."

Members said that they already have a person to prepare financial reports, but CEDA has promised to offer "pick and choose" services.

A tentative date of Feb. 25 was set for the EDA's next meeting.