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TMU to offer North Tama loan for light bulbs

June 29, 2012
Ross Bercik - Managing Editor , Traer Star-Clipper

The Traer Municipal Utilities Board met in regular session on Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Municipal Hall. Pat Stief, Sandra Whannel, Suzanne Earley, Joe Morris and Dann Larmore were present. Absent was Nick Podhajsky.

The early business included the motion to approve the agenda, which was made by Whannel and seconded by Earley. Earley also made a motion to approve the previous month's bills, seconded by Whannel. Both motions carried.

The board is considering sponsoring a scholarship for North Tama students who plan to pursue a post-secondary education to become an electric lineman or water/wastewater treatment worker. The board discussed something in the neighborhood of $500 to a graduating senior, which would begin next year. The board will resume discussion on this after they talk to the school and coordinate a set of criteria for the scholarship.

General Manager Pat Stief said he is fairly certain the city will not have to make any adjustments to the generators to meet new EPA regulations, which will save the city a significant sum of money.

The big item of business on the agenda this month was the possibility of TMU giving assistance to the school district for a lighting retrofit, which would replace most of the school's bulbs with newer, more energy efficient ones. According to estimates, the cost for the materials would be $14,371, which the board discussed offering as a loan to the school. This will allow the school to not have to borrow money at a high interest rate. The school will see significant energy savings, and based on estimated use, the lights will pay for themselves in as little as two years. In addition, any commercial business that completes a retrofit receives a $300 rebate.

Josh Youel said the school is excited about the opportunity and thinks it will be a great way to make the buildings more energy efficient and control energy costs. The labor will be provided by the school district.

A motion was made by Larmore, and seconded by Whannel, to allow the school to finance the bulbs through TMU for a period of two years. The roll call vote passed unanimously.

With no further business to discuss, the board opened the forum to citizen input. Kennan Seda brought forward the idea of a film festival that would be powered entirely by wind.

The idea would be to have the town premiere the move that is set to be filmed in Traer later this year at an event where the entire town would be powered by the wind turbine for a period of time.

According to General Manager Pat Stief, the only possible time when the grid could handle being powered entirely by the turbine would be in the spring or fall, and between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The increased load of heating, cooling and lighting during the day would place too much demand on the system, and the wind turbine wouldn't be the only thing supplying power.

Seda said it would be an interesting idea to have the town be known for a wind-powered film festival. The board made no decision on this, as Seda simply wanted feedback on how the organizers would go about doing this.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the TMU Board would normally fall on Thursday, July 5, but the board has moved the meeting to July 12 at 7 p.m. so as not to interfere with the 4th of July holiday.



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