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.
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".
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.
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.
The City of Great Falls has begun their 2010-2011 budget discussions. These meetings are open to the public.
Friday, February 19, 2010 8:00-10:00 Public Works 10:00-10:15 Break 10:15-11:15 Library 11:15-11:45 Legal
Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:00-10:00 Park & Recreation 10:00-10:15 Break 10:15-11:30 Fire Department 11:30-12:00 Housing Authority
Friday, February 26, 2010 8:00-10:00 Police 10:00-10:15 Break 10:15-10:45 Human Resources 10:45-11:15 City Clerk/City Commission/Cable 7 11:15-11:45 City Manager ******************************************** On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the following schedule was assigned:
Beartooth Electric Cooperative is calling for the resignation of their president, John Prinkki:
FEBRUARY 15, 2010 OPEN LETTER TO ALL CONCERNED 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.
NEW BUSINESS Discussion with Senator Mitch Tropila Emergency Notification System -- Kristal Kuhn Composting System -- Mike Dalton Medical Marijuana Zoning Ordinance Problem Properties Neighborhood Concerns OLD BUSINESS 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 REPORTS City Commission Other Reports
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.
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.
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.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT 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
NEW BUSINESS 1. Accept Board Meeting Minutes from December 7, 2009 2. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
BOARD MEMBER REPORTS Joint Worksession Meeting of the Great Falls City Commission and Electric City Board of Directors- January 11,2010 Minutes
GENERAL AND PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS 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
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: