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Friday, May 6, 2016

City in no hurry for gas franchise

Monday, December 19, 2005

The city of Cherokee has not had a natural gas franchise for four years and council members do not feel rushed to approve a 25 year franchise with Alliant Energy.

The matter was tabled at the Tuesday evening city council meeting, pending finding more information on the matter.

Dwight Varce, council member, called a 25-year natural gas franchise absurd, particularly since it doesn't prevent another company from supplying natural gas in the city, unlike electricity which is an exclusive franchise.

Ron Strickland, city administrator, also noted that there is nothing preventing either party from ignoring the agreement.

"It's a feel good thing for them," Strickland said.

One change that has been considered is the establishing a franchise fee that would be added to the monthly bill to customers and be an alternative revenue source for the city.

The council members did not express any support for the idea of a franchise fee.

The council has not been supportive of creating its own natural gas franchise, abandoning a feasibility study on a city owned natural gas utility commissioned several years back. The first part was paid for and yielded little substantive information.

Strickland, who has had some experience in the subject, has discouraged establishing a natural gas utility as expensive and risky.

Council members would still like to hear from city officials in Orange City where a natural gas utility was established over a year ago. A meeting will be arranged to further explore the matter.

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Bruce Johnson, CEO of CML Telephone Cooperative Association, provided information to the council about the proposed use of the north water tower for antennas through a lease agreement with the city.

CML plans to provide high-speed, wireless Internet service. The company, based in Meriden, has provided dial-up Internet service for 12 years.

There were no specific details as far as monthly rent for the space or a timetable presented at Tuesday's meeting.

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The council approved the first reading of an ordinance regarding the sign ordinance. The ordinance brings a recent revision allowing projecting signs into compliance with the Iowa Code.

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A report on the Aquatic Center/Gillette Park project puts the fund raising effort within $730,000 of its goal. There has been some minor work completed at Gillette Park by city workers in anticipation of the project.



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