MidAmerican Energy agreement discussed, fundraiser approved
The Red Oak City Council is prepping to renew its franchise agreement with MidAmerican Energy.
The council met with MidAmerican Energy franchise manager Mark Reinders, who said both the city’s electric and natural gas franchises are up for renewal in May 2023.
“A franchise may be an unknown entity for most, but basically it’s a legal agreement that lets us use the public right of way for all of our electric and natural gas utilities, and so this is a preliminary meeting to discuss the agreement before the renewal next year,” Reinders said.
The previous agreement was finalized 25 years ago, in 1998. During discussion, Reinders advised community members that were in attendance that if they had issues with streetlights, to visit midamericanenergy.com to report an issue.
“On the homepage, it allows you to report the location of the outage; an order is automatically created at the service center and the team gets out and fixes it as soon as possible,” advised Reinders.
City Clerk Mary Bolton told residents to call city hall first, to make sure the streetlights out were not city owned.
Reinders told the council it took around three months to finalize a franchise agreement renewal, and he was usually involved in around 25 renewals per year. Additionally, a new option for the renewal was for cities to implement franchise fees to generate additional revenue.
“More and more communities are looking at it because they’re all struggling financially and have more needs than are financially feasible,” said Reinders. “The time to implement those fees is usually when they do a renewal. In Red Oak, a 1% franchise fee would generate $70,000 in revenue, and you can post up to 5%, so a total of $350,000 per year. If you do one, you have to have a revenue purpose statement and a reason to do it to collect the money.”
Council member Brian Bills clarified that if the council approved a franchise fee, they would no longer be able to collect the Local Option Sales Tax dollars, and it would be replaced by the franchise fee.
Reinders proposed another 25-year franchise fee agreement. The council took no action, and further discussions are anticipated at a future council meeting.
The council also heard a request from the Red Oak Eagles Lodge to close north 2nd Street from Washington Avenue south to the bridge from noon to midnight, Aug. 13.
Eagles representative Sandy Reich said the Eagles were hosting a charity fundraiser for 6-year-old Gannon Vandewall, a first-grader currently battling cancer.
“Gannon has been diagnosed with leukemia. It’s traveling extremely fast and it’s being extremely aggressive. So we’d like to block off the street and put fencing around so it is attached to the building at two different locations,” Reich explained.
Reich added the fundraiser will feature live music from a country western artist and dancing, food will be available for purchase, and merchandise will also be for sale.
Reich confirmed alcohol would be available for purchase, and that their insurance carrier advised they would be covered if purchased alcohol was taken outside. City administrator Brad Wright urged Reich to verify that their plans for alcohol sales didn’t need any further documentation for approval.
The council approved the request from the Eagles for the street closure as presented. Reich said the event will begin at 3 p.m.
In other business, the Council:
• Approved a request from the Montgomery County Fair Board for fireworks usage on the evening of July 23 at the demolition derby.
• Aproved a request from the Classy Chassis Car Club for street closures, a supply of barricades, and the use of the empty lot on the northwest corner of the square for Old Car Day on Aug. 20.
• Approved resolutions approving economic development grants to the Red Oak Chamber and Industry Assocation, and the Montgomery County Development Corporation.
• Approved the first reading of an amendment to city code by amending provisions pertaining to parking regulations. The amendment created a no-parking zone from the intersection with Inman Drive for 60 feet on the east side of north 8th Street. The council then approved a motion to waive the second and third readings of the ordinance amendment and approved a motion to adopt.