July 22, 2014

Council to consider changes to EUB

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Members of the Gardner City Council will consider changes to the ordinance that created the electric utility board (EUB). They discussed the ordinance during a meeting on Feb. 4, but didn’t seem to formulate a plan for re-working the ordinance.
“We have three options,” Council president Kristina Harrison said. “We can repeal this, leave it as it is or move water and wastewater under the EUB.”
Listed as a discussion item under new business, council members took two different approaches to the topic.
Council member Larry Fotovich asked about specific pieces of the ordinance that allow the EUB, a five member board appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, to work autonomously with little oversight by the city council.
Harrison agreed that if the council decides to maintain the current system – a separate, but autonomous board that runs the city’s electric utility like business – the ordinance that created the EUB still needs to be examined. There are gaps in it, she said.
“I think there are some significant things that need to be addressed,” Harrison said.
Mayor Dave Drovetta said when the ordinance was drafted in 2008, it was written using the best information available at the time.
“It was stated at the time that it would need to be revisted,” Drovetta said.
Council vice president Chris Morrow said at a minimum, he’d like to see the board host its meetings on dates that do not coincide with city council meetings so he could attend.
Council members decided to host a deeper discussion about the topic at a later date.
Meanwhile, they also tabled an action item that would’ve adopted a resolution to establish rules of procedure for the council.
In other business, council members:
• heard concerns from residents. One resident voiced concerns about train whistles. Another asked what is being done to address school security concerns.
• approved an interlocal agreement that will allow the city to contract for some building code services from Johnson County for the next three months due to staff reorganization and a resignation. Under the terms of the contract, the city will pay the county $73 per man-hour for services. Public works director Dave Green estimated that it will cost the city approximately $11,000 per month through March.

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