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By Sue Curry Jones
The Ava Board of Aldermen met Tuesday evening and received an update on the current status of electric rates throughout the State of Missouri and surrounding areas. The board also approved the purchase of a mower for the park department.
The update on projected costs of generated power was presented by Administrative Director Peggy Porter who had recently attended the quarterly meeting of the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) membership in Columbia, Mo., March 10, where she was briefed on statewide options and rate projections for local municipalities.
Porter attended the meeting because the City of Ava is a member of MoPEP, the organization that supplies Ava and 35 cities with full-service electric power.
Ava’s membership in MoPEP places the city’s power needs in an organized group of municipalities who pool together to buy ‘generated power’ at volume discounts. The main goal is to provide buying power for small communities, such as Ava. The group operates under the umbrella of the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC).
MJMEUC manages the resources and provides bargaining benefits for small cities, which allows volume purchasing and better rates when buying generated power. The membership also includes the economic purchase of new supplies, support for existing facilities, and the purchase of low cost power through joint action.
At the meeting, officials reported fifteen Sho-Me Power communities are presently trying to consolidate and opt-out of the contractual relationship, just as the City of Ava did two years ago. These areas are scrambling to secure lower electrical rates, as they continue to absorb on-going rate increases.
According to Porter, part of the problem is due to fluctuating economic and market conditions, and the fact that buying generated power directly from the marketplace continues to escalate and be expensive. In fact, statistics show municipalities buying power at market rates may face increases as high as 160 percent in the days ahead.
However, because MoPEP owns many different types of power plant options such as coal, wind and land fill gas facilities, these additional sources for power will provide stability and economic benefit to the membership as a whole, and their costs will not rely on market prices. This economic advantage and power distribution will benefit the MoPEP membership, and Ava. With less dependency on market prices, cost figures should stabilize, and rates may show a decrease, which will be passed on to the consumer.
The MoPEP group falls under the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC).
The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission is a state-wide Joint Action Agency specifically authorized by state law to operate as an electric utility for the benefit of the combined requirements of the members. The group can construct, operate and maintain jointly owned generation and transmission facilities for the benefit of members.
As a member of the group, Porter not only represents the City of Ava, but has a vote in decisions made by the board.
During closed session, council hired James Hathcock as manager of the summer baseball program, and Ely Parker as pool manager.
A small segment of property owned by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home was re-zoned from B-2 Central Business to R-3 Multifamily Residential District. The parcel is located adjacent to and immediately north of the funeral home building.
Council also re-zoned a section of property (storage units) owned by Mike and Carmen Whorten. The code was amended from B-2 Central Business to B-3 General Business.
Gearing up for mowing season, council approved the purchase of a John Deere Select Series X748 4-wheel drive ultimate tractor (without deck) from Donald Farm and Lawn in Lebanon, Mo. for $9,775. The mower will be used by the park department and replaces an eleven-year-old model. Another bid had been submitted from Larson Farm & Lawn of Rogersville for $10,483.06.
Councilman Billy Long, who is the volunteer deputy director of the local emergency management team, presented council and city officials with a copy of the Local Emergency Operations Plan for the City of Ava and Douglas County. Long said the new plan consists of 320 pages and has been officially approved by Terry Toler, state emergency manager/area coordinator for Troop G. The comprehensive document not only addresses step-by-step plans for handling natural disasters and acts of terrorism, but also includes a strategy for earthquakes, a new requirement this year.
In his presentation, Long pinpointed sections pertinent to the City of Ava, and acknowledged the plan meets state standards.
Council approved payment of bills and accepted the February court docket as presented.
Members present for the meeting were Burrely Loftin, Judy Lovan, Ric Engelhardt and Billy Long.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, 5:00 p.m. in council chambers at Ava City Hall.