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City Council hears of progress to date on gas municipation

May 6, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper

The Traer City Council held their regular meeting Monday, May 4 at the Traer Library. Attending the meeting was council members Mark Mason, Ray Mundt, Jake Schmitt, Lou Rausch, Patty Guzman and City Clerk Jon Panfil and Mayor Russell Drinovsky and Traer Municipal Utilities board members Dann Larmoure, Dick Thompson, Bruce Overton, General Manager Pat Stief and Dennis Cmelek, attorney working with TMU on the gas municiplization and concerned citizens.

Mayor Drinovsky called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda and the agenda, Mundt made the motion, Schmitt seconded it and the motion carried. A motion was made to approve the previous meetings minutes by Mason, Schmitt seconded and the motion carried. Guzman made the motion to approve the bills for the month, Rausch seconded and the motion carried.

Beer and liquor permits were then voted on for the Traer Supermarket and the Winding Stairs Festival. Some questions were brought concerning the fencing of the beer area for the festival. Ellen Young from the committee was present but had not been at the last two meetings so she was not sure what had been decided but she did inform the council that security had been discussed and plans were being made to police the area better this year. Guzman made the motion to approve the permits, Schmitt seconded all ayes except Mundt voted no on the Winding Stairs Festival permit. Motion carried.

Stief gave a summary of the the timeline of what has been done to municipalize the gas service in Traer and introduced Cmelek, City Attorney for Hartley Iowa and the attorney TMU has hired to help them in the condemnation process.

Cmelek informed the council of the next steps in the process to municipalize the gas service. TMU has to pass a resolution to make a fair market offer to Alliant to purchase the gas system. If Alliant agrees to the offer then papers can be drawn up.

If Alliant does not agree then both sides need to enter into good faith negotiations. If an agreement still cannot be reached then the matter will go to condemnation court,. where three judges are appointed, one of those judges required to be from Tama County and two random judges.

Cmelek told the Council it then comes down to expert witnesses and the case will usually last two to three days. Cmelek went on to say that the city will win the case the only questions will be what the damages will be that needs to be paid to Alliant for the system.

The city can then decide if they are willing to pay that amount and can still back out, having only to pay all the attorney fees. At that point a new franchise agreement could be negotiated.

Cmelek said, "Traer should seize the opportunity and finish what they started. Why not take the next step after all you have done to get here."

Mary Hamilton asked, "What board would these decisions come back to?"

Cmelek replied, "Steps have been taken to put those decisions with the TMU Board."

Hearing no further discussion the council moved on to the garbage collection contract with Dysart and establishing rates for Traer customers. Commercial rates are going to increase approximately 20 percent and residential will increase 25 percent. The increase will still give senior citizens a discounted rate.

The council passed a resolution to terminate the industrial incentive package previously approved in October of 2008. Stating that the company that was interested in the Traer Manufacturing Building will not be coming to Traer.

John Novak said clean-up was going well and the pipe had been ordered for the football field job. Novak also asked permission to hire Mike Skopec for summer part-time help. The Council agreed.

Hearing no further discussion Mayor Drinovsky adjourned the meeting.

The next regular council meeting is Monday June 1 at 7:00 p.m.



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