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Chatfield renews electric franchise

Fri, May 30th, 2014
Posted in Chatfield Government

Mayor Russ Smith presents this year’s Heritage Preservation Award to Tony and Melissa Klema for their restoration of an 1872 building (former hardware store) to its new life as “Adourn,” a furniture rehab business.

With the 20-year renewal of Chatfield’s electric franchise some changes are expected in the near future. Keith Sherman representing Alliant Energy, Brian Krambeer representing Tri-County Electric Cooperative, and Elaine Garry representing People’s Energy Cooperative addressed the city council at its May 27 meeting. Councilor Paul Novotny was absent.

Sherman explained that electric service will continue and will be similar to what has been in effect for the last 20 years as a sale takes place. He asked that the franchise be renewed so it can be part of the sale closure.

Krambeer gave an overview of the transaction. Twelve electric cooperatives across southern Minnesota own and are members of Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative (SMEC). The cooperatives in an agreement with Alliant Energy will purchase distribution assets from Alliant Energy. These assets overlap with the areas of the cooperatives.

In a 10-year wholesale power agreement with SMEC, Alliant Energy will provide the power supply and transmission service and the cooperatives will distribute the power. The agreement between SMEC and Alliant Energy will not be final until it is approved by state and federal regulatory agencies.

Chatfield residents will become members of either People’s on three sides of the city or members of Tri-County on the southern portion of the city. Electric bills will be issued from the individual cooperatives to their members.

Krambeer said it will make each of their organizations stronger as they will serve more people in their areas (Tri-County will serve about 2,500 more or realize a 20 percent growth and People’s will serve about 7,000 more or realize a 50 percent growth). With growth the efficiency of each of the cooperatives will increase.

The council approved the first consideration of Ordinance 412, which renews the electric franchise for 20 years.

Heritage Preservation Award

Each year a preservation award is presented to someone who has worked to preserve the heritage of Chatfield through its historic or architecturally significant buildings. Tony and Melissa Klema were this year’s recipients of the award for their restoration of the former hardware store building which was built in 1872. The building was given new life with the establishment of “Adourn,” a furniture rehab business. They also have worked to restore a nineteen century Victorian home on Fillmore Street. Mayor Russ Smith presented the award for their investment in Chatfield’s downtown and in the community.

Other Business In Brief

•After some discussion about re-installing a restroom in what is now a storage closet off the Senior Room in the Thurber Building, the $8,075 project was approved.

City clerk Joel Young said they would either have to go ahead with the single quote they have from Southeast Mechanical ($7,625) or wait a year or two to go out for new bids as the quote has already been made public. Southeast Mechanical’s proposal includes toilet, sink, exhaust fan, carpentry, electrical, plastering, and the installation of a suspended ceiling. Schwickert’s will do the roof work which is $450 of the total project cost.

•The second consideration and publishing of Ordinances 410 and 411 were approved. Ordinance 410 vacates a portion of the right of way along Division Street necessary for the Twiford development. Ordinance 411 vacates a small portion of the alley needed for the development.

•The closure of up to a block of Fillmore Street south of Third Street was authorized for June 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. as requested by Chatfield Lutheran Church. As weather permits, worship services will be held outdoors.

•A bid from Huntington Electric in the amount of $3,275 was approved to improve lighting in the city shop as recommended by Tony Lammers.

A bid from Southeast Electric in the amount of $572.36 was approved to install the circulating water pump in the water tower.

•Lammers reported that the price for new hockey boards could run from $65,000 to $75,000. Used hockey boards are available that were built in 1991 that are in good shape for $15,000. The boards would have to be taken down and hauled back from Elk River. Lammers said it would cost about $5,000 to fix what they have now. Councilor Robert Pederson said he had looked at the Elk River hockey boards and that they were first class boards. Purchase of the used boards at Elk River was approved.

•Young said he had attended a meeting to launch the Community Growth Initiative (CGI) process. The purpose of the CGI is to develop ideas on how communities (within approximately 20 miles of Rochester) can leverage the DMC opportunity.The CGI will involve 10 to 20 communities in the area facilitated by Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).

Young said each community has been asked to have one or two individuals to serve on a steering committee. The council passed a motion of support and Young asked councilors to get back to him if they wanted to be involved.

•A public hearing scheduled for June 23 regarding modifications to Municipal Development District #3 was canceled because it is not necessary under law.

•Councilor Ken Jacobson congratulated everyone who has worked diligently to get grant money for the Chatfield Center for the Arts ($5.3 million) included in the state’s bonding bill. Mayor Smith noted that matching funds are not required because of everything the community has done so far both through volunteerism and funding. Jacobson agreed that efforts by volunteers are very important to being included in the bonding bill, adding those efforts have paid off.

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