City Commission discusses power agreement

The City of Holton has been receiving an allotment of hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) since the 1970s, and if an agreement between WAPA and the city is approved, that allotment could continue for nearly four more decades, the Holton City Commission noted on Monday.

Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA) to act as the city’s assignee in negotiations with WAPA for the electric power allocation. Holton City Manager Bret Bauer said those negotiations are expected to be finalized before the end of this year.

The city’s existing 30-year contract with WAPA for electric power will expire on Sept. 30, 2024, Bauer said. WAPA is seeking to extend that contract for another 30 years, meaning that if the agreement is finalized, the city will continue to receive an allocation of power from WAPA through Sept. 30, 2054.

Electric power from WAPA was allotted to the city in the late 1970s and 1980s through the federal government, it was reported. But the city’s contract with Westar Energy, which had served as the city’s primary power provider through 2007, gave the city a sufficient amount of power, and the WAPA power was given to KMEA to distribute it to cities that could use it, with profits made as a result of that distribution given back to the city.

Today, the city receives, on an hourly average, about 800 kilowatts of electric power from WAPA, through KMEA distribution lines, and the city has also been allocated three megawatts of hydroelectric power from the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA). Bauer said the city’s contract with GRDA would likely be up for extension “within the next five years.”

Most of the city’s energy comes from KMEA, of which the City of Holton is a member. Holton is a member of EMP3, which is the third power pool established by KMEA, and the agency also pays its generating member cities for their power capacity.

In other business on Monday, commissioners granted Holton resident Christina Cobler a home occupation permit for an in-home dog grooming business at her residence at 317 E. Fifth St. Commissioner Dan Brenner also recognized Cobler for the work she had done on one of the Brenner family’s dogs.

The permit had received the Holton Planning Commission’s recommendation on Jan. 26, Bauer noted. At that time, Cobler told city planners that she was unaware that she needed a permit to run the business from her home.

Commissioners also:

* Approved minutes from the commission’s Jan. 20 meeting and budget appropriations made since that meeting.

* Heard a question from Holton resident Willy Wilson on whether the city experienced any power outages over the weekend due to the winter storm that moved through the region. Electrical Production Superintendent Ira Harrison replied that there were “some isolated outages, but nothing was out for very long.”

* Heard a request from Wilson to meet with the commission in executive session for “personal” reasons. City Attorney Dennis White replied that executive sessions cannot be requested by the public, but by the commission, and that if Wilson had a complaint, he should go through “the official channels.”

* Recognized city employees for their years of service. Holton Water and Sewer Superintendent Dennis Ashcraft, water and sewer employee Dennis Klahr and Sgt. Rex Hamlin of the Holton Fire Department were recognized for 30 years of service; Mike Reichle, city parks and recreation director, was recognized for 15 years; Kenneth Proffitt, electric distribution department employee and meter reader, was recognized for 10 years; and Jeffrey Draper of the Holton Police Department was recognized for five years. Ashcraft, Klahr and Draper were present at Monday’s meeting.

* Approved allocations of $2,500 to the Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson County Historical Society as discussed at the commission’s Jan. 20 meeting. The money had been previously allocated to the now-defunct Holton Main Street organization.

* Approved Bauer as the city’s voting delegate and Corey Miller as alternate voting delegate to the Kansas Rural Water Association.

* Noted that the next meeting would be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, due to the regular meeting date of Monday, Feb. 16, falling on Presidents Day.

* Heard an inquiry from Commissioner Tim Morris on whether a section of sidewalk on New York Avenue would be replaced. Assistant City Manager Kerwin McKee replied that the property owner has been contacted about the matter.

* Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel matters with Bauer, White, McKee and City Clerk Teresa Riley present. No action resulted from the session.

* Adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:30 p.m.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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