By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Cities all over the country are looking at both reducing expenditures while still giving residents quality services.
Randall is no different. It has been giving rebates to its residents for several years when they switch to Energy Star appliances, thus reducing the amount of electricity the city has to buy.
“We follow the Minnesota Power conversation program,” said City Administrator Jerry Peterschick.
A representative of Energy Insight Inc. gave a presentation to the City Council Wednesday night about enhancing what Randall is already doing. It is a company which will assess the electric usage of businesses and make recommendations on future savings.
Randall purchases its electricity from Minnesota Power and sells it to its residents. Tyler Barrell said the state would like cities such as Randall with enterprise funds to rebate businesses for reducing their energy usage by 1.5 percent or more.
Energy Insight Inc. would, for a fee of $75 – $85 per hour, assess the energy usage of participating local businesses and make recommendations. The goal is to reduce the amount of electricity purchased by the city. The city would pay the fee to Energy Insight.
The money saved by the city would be rebated back to the participating business.
Energy Insight would measure and verify the energy savings, fill out the reports and be responsible for the rebate forms.
“This is helping cities use energy more efficiently,” said Barrell. “Energy Insight has been doing this for a long time. We are able to assess a building and know what it needs to reduce costs.”
Barrell said that the city of Pierz is currently participating in this program.
Pierz City Administrator Anna Gruber said that Pierz does not see a return of its investment with this program.
“It (Energy Insight Inc.) does a great job and those participating are happy,” she said. She also said that while some of the city’s customers wanted to be part of the program, they really don’t see a savings.
“The customer eventually pays for the program because of raised utility rates to cover the city’s cost,” she said.
In Pierz, the rebate is for both residences and businesses. If Randall participates, it will be for businesses only.
While Barrell said the city is mandated to be part of the program, Gruber said the state statute clearly says it is a “goal” to have all cities participating to reduce energy usage.
“There is no (state) policing of the program. I’m not sure if anything would happen if the recommended savings did not occur,” said Gruber.
Randall City Council briefs
Other business conducted by the Randall City Council Wednesday night included:
• Voting to purchase about 30 acres of forfeited property for $12,832.26 located in Aspen Ridge, Out Lot A. The intent is to eventually have a developer buy the land;
• Voting to not accept the statutory tort limits, ensuring any one person would be able to recover no more than $500,000 in liabilities against the city;
• Discussing a cost estimate of about $77,000 to do street improvements on Superior Avenue and East Fourth Street from the Randall State Bank to Minnesota Avenue. This estimate is for consideration only and if the project is to go ahead, will be put out for bids;
• Voting to spend $700 from vehicle forfeitures to have a dog kennel built that will fit in the back of the squad car to carry Ellie, the city’s K-9. Ray’s Body Shop in Little Falls will do the construction;
• Accepting a $150 donation from the Randall Cushing Lions for the tree at Bingo Park and $300 for the horse-drawn trolley to be used during Randall Holly Day Dec 5; a $150 donation from the Randall VFW for the trolley; and a $100 donation from the Randall Cushing Little Elk Lions Club for the disc golf course;
• Learning that Police Chief Chuck Strack did not recommend adding stop signs or reducing speed limits within city limits;
• Approving building permits for the Randall VFW to install steel siding on the south side of its building, for Jason Linkert to install a six-foot privacy fence and for Tammy Steffen to install a chain link fence on the condition that the Planning and Zoning Commission approves her permit; and
• Setting the Equalization meeting for May 7, 2014, at 9 a.m. and a special meeting to finalize the 2014 budget for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
The next city council meeting will be held at the Randall Fire Hall Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.