SHELDON—The Sheldon City Council could enact a franchise agreement with MidAmerican Energy Co. when it meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the Sheldon Community Services Center.
The council will hold the third readings of two franchise agreement ordinances with MidAmerican — one for electric and one for natural gas — and the items are likely to pass without the addition of franchise fees, which were removed from the proposal on Aug. 21.
During that Aug. 21 meeting, city manager Sam Kooiker noted the city cannot approve the agreement and then add the fees in later.
He said the same process — at least three readings and at least three public hearings — would have to be enacted to add fees.
The prospect of adding franchise fees to utility bills drew the ire of multiple Sheldon residents, who made their concerns known during public hearing and meetings.
While the idea also had its share of supporters from the public, councilman Pete Hamill suggested cutting the fees at the Aug. 21 meeting.
“Without the fees, I think we can have some intelligent conversation,” Hamill said.
Sheldon and MidAmerican have operated on a handshake agreement for 32 years, but in recent months, city leaders, as well as officials from the utility, have expressed a desire to legitimize the pact.
According to MidAmerican, Sheldon is the only city it serves in Iowa without a franchise agreement in place.
As presented, the agreement would last for 15 years and Sheldon would have the ability to opt out at the five year- and 10-year marks. Some terms under the compact grant MidAmerican right-of-way access to public streets and the ability to use eminent domain.
One perk of the agreement city officials have touted is liability protection in a catastrophic event involving MidAmerican or its contractors.
In other business, the council is expected to approve Krysten Haan’s application to be the full-time emergency medical technician/paramedic coordinator for the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team.
Haan has been on the team since 2004 and her tentative start date is Sept. 23.