Holly Town Board Discusses Utility Rate Options

Depot will be 100 Years Old Next Year

The future structure of some utility rates occupied the attention of the Holly Board of Trustees at their regular meeting, Wednesday, October 5.  At issue is the potential loss of electric revenue to the city from use of the proposed solar array for the new high school.  School board members and representatives from Adolfson & Peterson Construction discussed the financial impact with board members.  One issue is if rates would be raised for other ‘demand’ class customers, to offset the loss to the city if the school generated its own power through the solar panels.  Although the new power system would mean buying less electricity from the city, the new school would be using more power to maintain the new ventilation system and other increased electric demands beyond the needs of the current school.  The estimated savings would average $6,000 a year.  No decision was made to approve the panels until additional information on the city’s utility rate structure became available from Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, which advises the city on electric utility matters. 

(CORRECTION-added 10-7-11)
One correction for your article on the discussion of the Town of Holly’s utility rates.  The energy model, put together by the electrical engineer hired by the school district, shows that for the new school building more electricity will be purchased from the town, even with a 35 kW solar panel system installed, when compared with the old school buildings.

Cory Thompson
School Board President

Members of the Holly Variance Board met with Trustees to discuss a proposed seven lot, neighborhood development, the Hefley-Weimer Addition.  Plans call for a variance for a 60 foot long street to serve the neighborhood.  Forty feet will be paved, allowing for three feet for a sidewalk and two feet for curb and gutters.  Kevin Humrich said the utility connections can be easily extended with no overall impact or changes to the utility easement.   The Town Board approved the variance request. 

Vance Brian reported that the Saddle Club paid for the new lights used for the rodeo at the arena, along with a power pole.  Electric and sewer hook-ups have been completed for L & L Greenhouse and a new and larger sign has been posted at the landfill.  The sign explains proper usage for future dumping.  Only minor repairs were needed for the town’s bucket and digger trucks, following their annual inspection.  Some bare spots at Gateway Park have been reseeded, roto-tilled and fertilized, hopefully in time for some growing to take place before the seasons change.   He added that Mike Daskam and his volunteers from the school helped a lot with set up time for this year’s Holly Fair. 

Holly Town Administrator, Marsha Willhite reported that FEMA is sending new maps needed to determine the amount of upgrades the town’s levees require for recertification.  The dollar impact is expected to be minimal as little changes will be needed to the levees.  Willhite said the new bridge over highway 89 will also help with flood control, but a hydrology study on water flow improvements is still pending.

Willhite noted that the Town Depot will observe its 100th anniversary next year, and she encouraged the board to give some thought to recognize the event.  Prairie dogs are still a problem, especially north of Holly.  There are some 76 acres of city land that need to be treated, including the airport.  She estimated the cost of control supplies at $3,000.  The board will follow up on a proposal to secure a grant to pave the municipal airport.  Several area pilots have said the grant in question would cover the costs of the project, and the runway upgrade would allow heavy, water-tanker aircraft to use the airport for future fire control. 

The fee increases at the town’s RV Park brought in $300 this past August, according to town clerk, Mary Rushton.  It was noted that the park will still see some use during the hunting season.  The town’s water quality control is tested every three years and the cost is $4,200.  Rushton said the town passed with no problems.  She noted that the town has $25,889 in outstanding utility bills that have not been paid.  Power purchases for this past August was up 9% compared to August 2010.  Replacement of the city’s older water mains continues.  Willhite said the lead pipes are being replaced with plastic and the entire city should be converted in two more years.

Johnnie Lyons will become a new Town Board Member and will be administered the oath of office at the November meeting.  Lyons is filling a vacancy on the board.  Marsha Willhite was reappointed to serve as an ARPA board member.  Her term expires the end of the year and the new term will continue until December 31, 2015.  In order to meet state mandated upgrades, the Holly Landfill needs to keep pertinent records at the landfill site.  A small office building will be constructed and be provided with electric power.  A public hearing for all interested parties connected to the Pine Street proposal will be set for November.  Josh Reinert approached the board with a request to incorporate a portion of the dead end street into his property.  The board voted to De-obligate $7,500 from DOLA funding to the city.  A Holly Preliminary Road Design Study is not being conducted and the funding is being returned.  The board approved a proclamation noting the contributions to the community from Dr. Sonia Seufer who is relocating to a new area.  The next Holly Town Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2.

By Russ Baldwin


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