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Ad Hoc Electric Utility Committee completed its purpose

The Fredericktown Ad-Hoc Committee was created by former mayor Karen Yates to provide recommendations to the Fredericktown City Council regarding the sale of the Fredericktown Electric Utility to Black River Electric Co-Op (BREC). According to committee Chair Mark Tripp; Mayor Danny Kemp, acting on Tripp’s recommendation, disbanded the committee in mid-August. Tripp said a presentation given by Ken Pierce and Karen Yates at the August 14, 2008 meeting was done as a private Citizen’s group, and not as the Ad-Hoc Committee or as any segment of the City of Fredericktown. Pierce had been a member of the Ad-Hoc Committee, but was representing the Citizen’s group according to Tripp.

Tripp said he thought the Ad-Hoc Committee had served its purpose and it had done a great job.

Tripp said he wanted to hear the presentation by the private Citizen’s group without any advanced notice. He heard the presentation and recommendations just as the other council members, and the public heard them. He said the information presented by the Citizen’s group was accurate, but he wasn’t sure if the figures would actually prove out over the course of the fiscal year.

Interim City Administrator Jim Dismuke said the Ad-Hoc Committee was formed before he had started working in Fredericktown again. He said the Ad-Hoc Committee was limited in its purpose and the committee had fulfilled its mission. The committee had presented information to the public at the high school (just before the non-binding vote was held several months ago) and Dismuke thought that would have finished its work.

However, the committee continued working to provide information to the City regarding the sale of the electric utility to BREC. Dismuke said the process has moved along and the work of the Ad-Hoc Committee is finished.  The City of Fredericktown can now negotiate directly with BREC, Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) and the “sister city” regarding the sale of the electric utility and the efforts to exit from the MoPEP pool.

Dismuke said he believed the final report given to the Council by the Citizen’s group by a respected CPA, Ken Pierce and the former mayor was done as a matter of courtesy.

“The City is moving ahead with the complicated sale,” Dismuke said. The Board feels obligated to pursue this sale according to the majority of voters. Dismuke said about 87 percent of the public voted in favor of the sale during the non-binding vote. The issue should be on the November, 2008 ballot.

Dismuke said exactly $300,000 has been earmarked to proceed with the sale, leaving the remaining funds on hand to make improvements to the City’s electric utility infrastructure. Dismuke said the department is now well managed and costs are under control. They may even see some cost cutting possibilities in the future.

Dismuke said, “We are well on our way to economic health.”

A public meeting is scheduled beginning at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, September 22, 2008 at the Fredericktown High School cafeteria.  Duncan Kincheloe, General Manager and CEO of Missouri Public Utility Alliance/Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) will be on hand to help answer questions from the public regarding the electric utility issues.

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