EDA lacks quorum (again)
Thursday, December 05, 2013 3:12 AM
For the second time in five months, the Spring Grove EDA lacked a quorum for their monthly meeting.
Only three members were able to attend on Nov. 26, including President Howard Deters and commissioners Roger Bender and Eric Ostern. Four are required for voting to take place.
The group discussed the possibility of moving EDA meetings to another evening, but no clear plan to do so emerged from the session.
Another topic for discussion was the Spring Grove Commercial Park. In February of 2012, then-EDA Executive Director Theresa Coleman told the board that the unsold EDA owned lots would be included on property tax rolls beginning in 2014. She further stated that the tax bill was estimated at $760 per lot.
The Herald contacted Houston County staff last week, and determined that EDA-owned lots are still listed under a "tax exempt code" at the park. That is reported as a Municipal Public Service Classification. Assessor Thomas Dybing was not available to confirm the tax bill that the EDA might pay in 2014, however.
Assessor's office staff did confirm that eight lots are still listed as EDA-owned. The taxable values of those have remained at $21,900 each since 2008. There were originally 10 lots in the development.
During the past two years, members have floated several ideas on how to sell the land before it becomes a liability to the EDA's budget. In April, the board voted to lower the price on the lots that do not have direct frontage on Highway 44 to $3,500 each. Those originally were listed at $15,000 apiece, according to longtime commissioners.
Since January, the EDA has functioned without an executive director, since Coleman's job as city administrator was eliminated. Some members have expressed frustration over a lack of administrative support during the year. Efforts to sell lots at the Commercial Park have continued, however.
Houston County EDA Coordinator Rick Howden said he would list the lots on the MN Prospector website when he visited commissioners in August. During the same meeting, Ostern reported that a potential buyer for lot number four contacted him, but that sale has not occurred. Neither has the potential sale of lots one and two (fronting Highway 44). Commissioner Jon Nerstad reported in September that he had been in contact with a potential buyer for those parcels, although the sale was considered "a long-shot."
Only one additional sale appears likely at the moment, members noted last week. That involves lot number three, which business owner Jerry Kraus has considered as an addition to land he already owns in the park.