Hillsboro council reviews power

pool procedure

City Admini­strator Larry Paine invited discussion about the Kansas Power Pool during the Dec. 6 Hillsboro City Council meeting.

Paine, who also serves on the KPP board of directors, referred to the discussion the Marion City Council had recently about KPP policy that prohibits membership termination by cities until all outstanding debt has been paid off by the pool.

The Marion council decided to vote against that proposal upon the recommendation of City Administrator Roger Holter.

“I know the Marion City Council has looked at (the agreement) and is having some difficulty with it, but that’s OK,” Paine said. “Basically, what Roger was proposing on behalf of their council was the way in which a city could move away from KPP membership.

“The way the documents are written, we’ve all pledged that we would be part of the program for 20 years…so we could have a much lower electric rate.”

Paine said if a member city would decide to leave the pool, it would still be committed to paying its part of the debt service KPP has acquired to purchase power providers such as the Dog­wood Energy Center in 2012.

“If you bail early and didn’t (fulfill the debt service obligation), you’d put a burden on the rest of the members,” Paine said. “That’s kind of the position the (KPP) board has at the moment.

“On the other hand, I can see where a community would say, ‘Hey, we don’t want to be a part of this anymore.’ They could stop, go get a contract from Westar, or whom­ever, but they’d still be liable for their share of the debt over time.”

Paine said the KPP board is reviewing its ability to pay the debt service if a city would decide to leave.

“We’re looking at what the next kind of contract is going to look like,” he said. “Will it be like Dogwood, (a natural-gas burning power plant in Missouri), or a product like the Jeffrey Energy Center, (a sub-bituminous coal-fired power plant in Kansas), or some product we don’t even know about yet.”

One emerging option may be utility-grade solar or wind storage batteries.

“Those sorts of things might play into what our future is as a small town,” Paine said.

Internet no show

The meeting ended sooner than expected when representatives from Super­ior Fiber, an area high-speed Inter­net provider, failed to show up for a scheduled presentation.

Paine said the company is planning to serve Hills­boro with a fiber network that provides one gigabyte service, both up and down.

“That is really quite fast,” Paine wrote in his meeting memo. “The process they talked about would take about three months to build out.”

Paine said later he has rescheduled the company’s presentation for the council’s Dec. 20 meeting.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved five board member recommendation presented by Mayor Delores Dalke. Eileen Unruh and JoAnn Knak were reappointed to the Salem Home board of directors; Jim Braden and David Marsh were new appointments to the Airport Board and Jared Jost was reappointed to the board for another term.

• met in executive session for 15 minutes for trade secrets. Joining the session were City Attorney Josh Boehm; Peter Mungai, Salem Home administrator; and Jared Jost, Salem Home board chair.

• heard Paine report he has been helping the city’s library board select its next director following Cathleen Fish’s retirement at the end of the year.

• agreed to meet the second and fourth Tuesdays of January, which has five Tuesdays, rather than the usual first and third Tues­days of the month to give the city the opportunity to pay year-end bills for 2016 prior to the first meeting of the new year.