Spring Grove Communications awards two capital credit checks in 2019

By : 
Jordan Gerard

Members of Spring Grove Communications will receive two capital credit checks in 2019, thanks to the 2018 success of the cooperative.

The extra check is due to the special retirement sent out in January, which was the second disbursement of Midwest Wireless capital credits. The last time that happened was in 2014.

At the start of the meeting, Board President Dave Morken thanked the Girl Scout troops for serving the food, catered by Ivy Grove Cafe and the employees for getting the building ready.

He introduced the Board of Directors including: Vice President Mark Dokken, Secretary/Treasurer Alan Frydenlund, members Jana Crickman, Leonard Myrah, Fordyce Brevig and Bruce Hegge.

Door prizes such as gift certificates to Spring Grove Communications, Spring Grove Cinema and Spring Grove Fitness Center were also awarded to lucky ticket holders who attended.

The 2018 agenda and minutes from 2017 were approved.

Elections this year included two board seats. The cooperative asked for applications in advance, but no one had filed to be on the ballot.

Thus, Alan Frydenlund and Fordyce Brevig were elected unanimously. Both have served on the board for numerous years, as have other members.

President’s report

Morken cited the exciting year Spring Grove sport teams were having, namely the 9-Man State Championship and the recent third place Class 1A basketball state ranking.

“We’re proud to be part of a community that supports their kids,” he said. “Our band and fine arts are doing well too. Our kids know they are supported.”

He talked about opportunities the fiber optic cable and broadband had brought people in Spring Grove and around the area.

Because of those technologies, people are able to work from home, even if their company is located in a large city like Minneapolis or St. Paul.

The technology can also monitor heart information at home for patients and send the information back to hospitals.

“There are some really positive effects for people,” he added.

The new focus for the cooperative has been working with MiBroadband, a new company formed by Mabel Telephone Company, Harmony Telephone, MiEnergy and Spring Grove Communications to bring broadband to rural folks who live farther away from service areas.

“With traditional boundaries, you don’t realize that there gets to be pockets of unserved areas,” Morken said. “That’s where the industry is changing and that’s where partnerships are forming. We need broadband to have an equal opportunity with bigger cities.”

Financial report

General Manager/CEO Jill Fishbaugher said the cooperative reduced its noncurrent liabilities, and it had to increase the operating revenues due to federal regulations.

Capital credits retired in 2018 include $525,000. About $600,000 capital credits are expected to be retired in 2019 from the cooperative. In addition to the Midwest Wireless credits mentioned above, the total 2019 disbursement is $1,137,000.

Total operating revenues tallied up $2,657,617 in 2018, which is an increase of $166,557 from 2017. Operating expenses for 2018 were $2,321,926, but in 2017 the total was $2,341,388.

The total statement of income was $852,490, which is a positive increase of $184,630 from 2017.

On the summary balance sheet, current assets tallied up $1,251,689 in 2018, an increase of $55,888 from 2017.

Noncurrent assets showed a loss of $626,376 from 2017 to 2018. The 2018 number for that column was $14,153,501, whereas the 2017 number was $14,779,877.

Total liabilities in 2018 showed $4,075,284, down from $4,479,109 in 2017.

Patron’s equity showed $15,153,770 tallied in 2018, which is actually a decrease of $482,663 from the 2017 number of $15,636,433.

Company report

Fishbaugher talked about her background in technology startups and how her workdays always differed. She compared that to the way broadband was changing.

“Broadband changes the world on a daily basis,” she said. “We’ve evolved into a full-fledged technology company and expanded to include many different services.”

In 2018, the company has been busy honing their skills to develop and stay as a top provider.

Changes to staffing also aim to provide more customer service. Jacqui VanMinsel was promoted to Director of Business and Community Affairs, where she will continue with her current tasks but also promote Spring Grove Communications and the community of Spring Grove overall.

Jodie Garness was promoted to Lead Customer Service Representative. Her duties include providing customer service and technical support to those members who come into the office and those that call in. She will also handle customer payments and accounts receivable for the cooperative and its subsidiaries.

LeAnn Kraus was promoted to Customer Experience and Marketing Manager. She will work with Brad White and Garness to continue the “excellent customer service they have been dedicated to.” Kraus will also insure the policies and procedures are efficient and effective to.

The company also welcomed Aimee Murphy as the cinema supervisor. In addition to showing the latest movies, Murphy will also brainstorm more ways to utilize the cinema property.

Remaining staff includes Mark Rud, Brad White, Ryan Welscher and Eric Hansen as knowledgeable technicians.

Facilities staff includes Bea Doely, Carl Myhre and Donna Myhre. Brandon Bergey remains as the fitness center manager.