By Amy Jantzen
On Thursday, Sept., 3, 7:00 the Traer Municipal Utilities held their regular board meeting. In attendance was Pat Stief, General Manager, Bruce Overton, Chairman, Joe Morris, Trustee, Sandra Whannel, Trustee and Jon Panfil, Secretary. Dann Larmore, Vice Chairman and Trustee Dick Thompson were absent.
Overton called the meeting to order and Whannel made a motion to approve the agenda, Morris seconded and the motion carried. Morris made a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meetings and the bills for the month. Whannel seconded and the motion carried.
Stief explained to the board the agreement to purchase renewable energy credits, stating that it was the same program as last year and that he would encourage the board to sign the agreement this year. He also explained that the cost of the energy credits was down from $5.25 a credit to $1.50 a credit so they would be spending the same amount of money and getting more energy from the purchases.
Whannel made a motion to renew the agreement, Morris seconded and the motion carried.
Stief also gave the board an update on the wind turbine progress. Again Stief told the board that they were not comfortable with the timeline the USDA had set for the first deadline saying that they didn't feel they had enough information to make educated decisions. They have continued to gather information and feel that they will be able to reach the next deadline. He thinks that it is worth their while to look at the numbers on a two-blade system and a three-blade system. The three-blade system will cost more but will be more efficient. Stief told the board that he would get numbers and get back to them.
Stief gave the board an update on the electric rates. Stief had been to the RGPI rates meeting that day and he had not had a chance to figure the rates with the new electric rates from RGPI but will get more solid numbers at next month's meeting.
Stief then handed out a letter that he was planning on giving the City Council members at their next meeting that gave the council an update on the natural gas system. Stief informed the board of the new offer that was made to Alliant as part of the good faith negotiations. Stief also told the board that he was under the impression that these negotiations would be kept confidential and was surprised to hear the the Star-Clipper had made inquires that day about the offer. Stief explained how the board, attorney and himself came to the price that they offered Alliant and that they were waiting to hear back from Alliant.
Jared Bausch representing Traer Development Corp. was at the meeting to discuss the Industrial Park land. In February the Traer Development Corp had made a land swap to better the site of the Industrial site and to lower costs to develop the site. In the process the TDC was about $120,000 short on the deal and made arrangements to make a payment on October 1, 2009 to the landowners. Bausch asked the board if they would be willing to pay half of the debt and the City would be paying the other half. Overton asked if they had considered getting a loan for the debt using the land as collateral? Bausch said that they had not pursued other options as of yet but were very willing to do so. Overton said that he didn't feel right now was the time for TMU to make that large of a pay-out with everything they have going on and also still trying to keep the rates down for the electric customers. The board also inquired if they could pay the $60,000 in smaller amounts, they felt that would be helpful. They asked that Bausch talk to the City Council at their next meeting and at that time they suggested that both boards along with members of the TDC get together and work out the best plan for everyone.
Hearing no other business, Overton adjourned the meeting at 7:30 p.m. The next regular board meeting of TMU is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1.