Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Current ECP Board To Be No More?

According to this report from KRTV, Mayor Winters has asked that a decision be made at next week's City Commission meeting to disban the current ECP board and allow the City Commission to take on its duties.

It's about time.

No Doubt As To What Is Their Best Side

Below is the complete video of the Luloffs being told they could not attend SME's meeting last week. It speaks volumes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let's Hope That It Is!

Could this be the beginning of the end?

According to a conversation Gregg had with Mayor Winters, Mike said he is going to recommend [at the City Commission agenda meeting tomorrow] "that the City take up the issue of disbanding the Electric City Board and utilizing qualified legal counsel to evaluate the various options, risks and expenses of extricating the City of Great Falls from this very expensive endeavor".

We'll let you know what transpires.

Well, What Do You Know

Remember when we didn't think the City of Great Falls would have a representative at the special SME meeting held last week in Billings?

It appears, after all, that we did.

The Luloffs are members of the Beartooth Electric Coop and wanted to attend this meeting. They were told they couldn't, because it was a closed meeting. Interesting, given that the City of Great Falls, a public entity, was present at that meeting in the person of Coleen Balzarini.

Neighborhood Councils - Week of Feb. 22, 2010

Only one council is meeting this week:

When: Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6:30pm
Where: Heritage Baptist Church

Committee reports
Emergency Notification System
Medical Marijuana – zoning

Brian Hoven – state legislature candidate

Neighborhood Concerns

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Time This Circus Left Town

According to this article from the Billings Gazette, SME/Southern could be authorizing an $85 million loan package to begin construction on their gas plant this Thursday, Feb. 25.

According to the same article, Prudential Financial and another not publicly announced lender, required that $14+ million in assets and some debt be reallocated to Southern from SME in order to lend the money.

In order to to this, a special meeting of SME/Southern members was held last week in Billings. Initially, the City Commission was supposed to select a representative to attend this meeting and vote. This item was on the City Commission agenda as of its agenda setting meeting on Feb. 10, but had disappeared by the time the actual agenda was posted online on Friday, Feb. 12. In its place was this item: "Motion to Adjourn To Executive Session". As usual, the city was closed-mouthed about what was going on and at least one member of the public went on the record as protesting this action.

We found out that Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op wanted to block this special meeting, which resulted in the hearing last Friday, which YVEC subsequently lost.

As a result, the meeting went forward and the above mentioned financial transaction was approved by a 4-1 vote; 4 co-ops in favor with Yellowstone Valley voting against. (Since the city of Great Falls did not authorize a voting representative, they could not enter a vote).

If you haven't already done so, check out Gregg's post about this latest chain of events.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Burns and McDonnell Meeting

I was unable to attend last night's meeting with the folks from Burns and McDonnell.

Gregg has his comments here and the Tribune's article is here.

If you attended, please share your thoughts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Burns and McDonnell Meeting Tonight

What: City Commission meeting with Burns and McDonnell to answer questions with regard to their report on their organizational and financial review of ECP.

When: Tonight, Feb. 18 at 5:30pm in the Gibson Room.

2010-2011 Budget Discussions

The City of Great Falls has begun their 2010-2011 budget discussions. These meetings are open to the public.

Friday, February 19, 2010
Public Works

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Park & Recreation
Fire Department
Housing Authority

Friday, February 26, 2010
Human Resources
City Clerk/City Commission/Cable 7
City Manager
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the following schedule was assigned:
Introduction/Instructions from Greg Doyon
Fiscal Services (Includes IT and Court)
Community Development/Planning

Monday, February 15, 2010

Neighborhood Councils - Week of Feb. 15, 2010

Three councils are meeting this week:
When: Monday, Feb. 15 at 7:00pm
Where: GF Clinic Speciality Center

Committee reports
Emergency Notification System
Community Composting
Neighborhood Concerns
When: Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7:00pm
Where: Meadowlark School Library

Committee reports
Emergency Notification System
Community Composting
Medical marijuana zoning discussion
CCSO updates—Sheriff Castle
Neighborhood Concerns

When: Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6:00pm
Where: GF PreRelease Center - Women's annex

Committee reports
Emergency Notification System
Community Composting
Medical Marijuana discussion
CCSO update—Sheriff Castle
Neighborhood concerns

Resignation Called For

Beartooth Electric Cooperative is calling for the resignation of their president, John Prinkki:

FEBRUARY 15, 2010
TO: John Prinkki, Beartooth Electric Cooperative Board President
Subject: Resignation Request, for cause

At our Joliet Town Hall Meeting on January 16, 2010 and a meeting held for Beartooth Electric Cooperative (BEC) members in Clark, Wyoming, a consensus was reached to ask for your resignation. I volunteered to write the request. The BEC members can no longer tolerate or afford the actions of yourself and Tim Gregori of Southern Montana Electric (SME).

It was reported that SME wrote off $9.1 million dollars in 2009. The 2008 income tax report of SME showed that the $9.1 million was written off in 2008. For you to keep this a secret until after the annual BEC meeting and your re-election to the board is intolerable. It constitutes fraud, if not criminally, it was morally wrong. This withholding of the $9.1 million write-off rendered the BEC financial statement presented at the 2009 BEC annual meeting invalid. The members who re-elected you at that meeting did so under false pretenses.

For BEC members to be paying for electricity for Northwestern Energy customers, Southern Montana Electric members and Electric City Power members is ludicrous.

I will remind you that The Beartooth Vigilance Committee presently has over 300 signed petitions for revision of the BEC Bylaws. That is more than the membership present at the 2009 BEC annual meeting. BEC has over 4000 members and there was less than 200 members who voted at the annual meeting. There is something wrong with that.
Larry Luloff
Beartooth Vigilance Committee
208 Stormitt Butte Road
Roberts, MT 59070

c.c. Ron Roodell
Beartooth Electric Board Members

Monday, February 8, 2010

Neighborhood Councils - Week of Feb. 8, 2010

Three councils are meeting this week:

When: Monday, Feb. 8 at 7:00pm
Where: NeighborWorks

Discussion with Senator Mitch Tropila
Emergency Notification System -- Kristal Kuhn
Composting System -- Mike Dalton
Medical Marijuana Zoning Ordinance
Problem Properties
Neighborhood Concerns
Council Goals Discussion/Document
Pea Pod Neighborhood Garden -- Status Update
Status of Park Drive Speed Petition
Status of Gibson Park Lighting Project
Other Old Business
City Commission
Other Reports

When: Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7:00pm
Where: West Elementary Cafeteria

Election of officers
Review of bylaws
Emergency Notification System
Community Composting
Pilot Project of the Residential Sound Insulation Program
Committee reports
Neighborhood concerns

When: Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:00pm
Where: Great Falls High, South Campus, Room 111

Current livestock ordinance
Emergency Notification System
Community composting
Committee reports
Neighborhood concerns

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Travis Finally Meets "The Man"

At last night's City Commission meeting, Travis finally met Tim Gregori.

I did not witness the exchange, but spoke to Travis shortly after it happened. He was quite taken aback, especially given how docile Tim was at the podium when he was talking about reallocating assets from SME to Southern.

Maybe it was all that marijuana odor in the room that got Tim fired up.

Medical Marijuana Moratorium Passes

I can't personally report on the votes taken at last night's City Commission meeting, because I left at 10:00pm. (According to Travis, the meeting lasted until nearly 11:30). We were still listening to the pros and cons of medical marijuana, agenda item #3. Contrary to what Mayor Winters said from the outset, one could count on one hand the number of comments made about the zoning of such.

The moratorium passed 4-1, with Commissioner Jolley dissenting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Not Much New

At last night's joint City Commission/ECP meeting, not much of substance was accomplished.

Commissioner Bronson will organize the questions to be asked of the Burns and McDonnell folks on Feb. 18. Once reviewed, they will be given in advance to B&M and posted on the city's website.

Ole Stimac, the new vice-chair (elected last night) of the ECP board, suggested that the ordinance be rewritten so that ECP will no longer be in violation of it. (This was also a suggestion from the Burns and McDonnell folks). He suggested that a time frame be established in the revision to "stop the bleeding". Pray tell, why would the city all of a sudden start to obey a revised ordinance when they haven't been obeying the current one? The city breaking the law has been no big deal to the city nor to the ECP board, who has yet to address it.

Discussion was held to allow the executive director of ECP to start to discuss contract increases (which B&M suggested) with various customers. Why in the world would anybody agree to a rate increase when the future of ECP is still up in the air?

Commissioner Fred Burow wanted to know why ECP didn't begin contract negotiations a couple of years ago when it was apparent that monies were being lost. Not surprisingly, ECP director Bill Ryan blamed the state legislature and Coleen blamed the economy, although she didn't explain how the economy was to blame before it tanked.

In today's Tribune, Coleen was quoted as saying that "financing is getting very close" for the natural gas-fired power plant. (I don't recall her reporting that to the public last night). Of course, we heard for years that funding was real close for the coal plant too. As a commenter reported at Electric City Weblog, this could be the carrot she uses to try to convince current customers to increase their rates.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Joint City Commission/ECP Board Work Session

When: Monday, Feb. 1 following the ECP board meeting at 5:30pm
Where: Gibson Room

The City Commission and Electric City Power Board will hold a Joint Special Work Session to review and discuss the recommendations of the Burns and McDonnell report.

Feb. 2010 ECP Board Meeting

When: Monday, Feb. 1 at 5:30pm
Where: Gibson Room

Agenda Packet here.

1. Financial Reports
a.Electric Fund as Extracted from the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report with Independent Accountant’s Report on Applying Agreed-upon Procedures
b. Year to date Financials to be provided

2. ECP Inc Energy Contracts Summary

3. Highwood Generation Station
a. Status Report
b. Southern Board Motions dated January 22, 2010

4. Renewable Energy Credits
a. PSC Docket No. N2009.10.137, Order No. 7053, Re: Renewable Portfolio Standard Compliance Filings for Compliance Year 2008
b. 2010 Compliance year kwh’s

5. YVEC vs. Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative Inc ETAL. (Cause no. DV08-1797):

6. PSC Chair Greg Jergeson Related Communications:
a. Greg Jergeson’s report, emailed in advance
b. Great Falls Tribune article dated January 9, 2010
c. Great Falls Tribune Editorial from Director Pancich dated January 14, 2010
d. Greg Jergeson’s letter to Mayor Winters dated January 25, 2010
e. Email from Travis Kavulla to Director Pancich dated January 26, 2010
f. Great Falls Tribune Article from January 27, 2010

1. Accept Board Meeting Minutes from December 7, 2009
2. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair

Joint Worksession Meeting of the Great Falls City Commission and Electric City Board of Directors- January 11,2010 Minutes

1. Handouts from December 7, 2009, meeting
2. Southern Montana Electric G&T Cooperative, Inc. 2008 Form 990
3. WREGIS Fee Matrix
4. NWE Natural Gas Utility Unit Rate Adjustments/Proposed Rates and NWE Monthly Electric Supply Tracker Rate Change Detail – January and February
5. Public comment

Major Omisson

In the minutes of the joint City Commission-ECP board meeting held January 11, the admission by the city manager that ECP has been violating its own ordinance was not recorded. Here is the proof of that statement:

City Commission Work Session - Feb. 2, 2010

When: Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 5:30pm
Where: Gibson Room

Centene Stadium Proposal – Marty Basta
Snorkel Truck replacement – Randy McCamley
Great Falls Development Strategic Plan – Brett Doney
Firefighter Contract Negotiation Update

Neighborhood Councils - Week of Feb. 1, 2010

Two councils are meeting this week:

When: Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7:00pm
Where: Sunnyside School Music Room

Committee reports
Nixel notification system—Kristal Kuhn (city's emergency planner)
Compost—Mike Dalton
Neighborhood Concerns

When: Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:00pm
Where: Riverview School Cafeteria (new location)

Election of Officers and review of Bylaws
Nixel notification system —Kristal Kuhn (city's emergency planner)
Compost—Mike Dalton
Issues of Neighborhood Concern