|
|
|
Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
  • Prairie State Negotiations Revealed

  • The minutes from a July 15 Kahoka, Mo. Board of Aldermen meeting offer more than a glimpse of the agreement Marceline City Manager Luke Lewis has been laboring to make with the other six members of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA). Consisting of the Cities of Columbia, Kirkwood, Hannibal, Fulton, Marceline, Central...
    • email print
  • The minutes from a July 15 Kahoka, Mo. Board of Aldermen meeting offer more than a glimpse of the agreement Marceline City Manager Luke Lewis has been laboring to make with the other six members of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA). Consisting of the Cities of Columbia, Kirkwood, Hannibal, Fulton, Marceline, Centralia, and Kahoka, this group of MPUA members agreed to purchase approximately 113 megawatts from the generation capacity of the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois back in 2004. What seemed like a sound investment in Marceline’s energy future then has since become a money pit due to cost overruns. As Lewis has stated in a letter to the Marceline City Council, “All information that has been provided to the City of Marceline since 2004 has led us and the prior administration to believe that Prairie State is a good investment and very well could be...in 15 to 20 years...Unfortunately, the City of Marceline, with its small $8 million operating budget, cannot sustain this for two years, let alone 10 years.”
    As reported recently in the online news source, Prairie State Coal Plant Tracker, a “Prairie State Update” provided at a July 15 City of Kahoka Board of Aldermen meeting by Kahoka City Assistant Jim Sherwood revealed that “the City of Marceline is asking to be excused from their contract with Prairie State because they do not have the funds to continue to lose money on the project.” Sherwood continued, “The remaining Cities would have to split Marceline’s cost under the contract if another buyer is not found.” The Prairie State Coal Plant Tracker elaborated, “Mr. Sherwood further stated that Mr. Duncan with the MPUA is negotiating with the Missouri Public Energy Pool [MoPEP] to purchase Marceline’s four megawatts of electricity, with Marceline paying $20,000 per month for the next four years, and the remaining Cities agree to relinquish the test energy funds, which the City of Kahoka’s portion would be about $40,000.” The Kahoka Board of Aldermen then gave “general consent” to Sherwood “to vote ‘yes’ for the negotiated sale.”
    In the wake of these revelations, we contacted Marceline City Manager Luke Lewis for comment. This is what Lewis had to say:
    “I don’t want to sever my ties with MPUA. The City of Marceline wants to remain a member of MPUA. We want to settle this amicably. I met with the City of Columbia last week; they fully support our desire to get out of this contract.”
     Adding that his visit with the City of Columbia “went very well,” Lewis elaborated,  “The only reason the City of Marceline is desiring to be allowed to exit this agreement is purely financial. This is a business matter and doesn’t involve personalities. We can’t sustain an annual $1 million to $1.5 million loss. We can manage $240,000 annually. I’m hoping this can be resolved amicably.”  
      • calendar