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Council tells Alliant it’s our way or no way, for now, at work session

The Mason City City Council met for a work session Thursday afternoon and discussed a franchise agreement with Alliant Energy.

The City and Alliant have been in negotiations for some time over the prospects of signing a long-term agreement.

Council member Scott Tornquist was not impressed with Alliant’s latest proposal to the City, pointing out that Alliant seems to keep bringing back the same old agreement, and crossing out all the changes the City is asking for.

Alliant representatives, four in total, were in attendance and gave explanations as to their reasoning on parts of the agreement. Mainly, they stated that Alliant is making a “multi-million dollar investment” in Mason City and they would like to think that Mason City would reciprocate by making a long-term commitment in return.

However, Tornquist and the rest of the Council were not really buying that line, as Jeff Marsters noted, “we like out agreement we have drafted” and the Council was prepared to vote on that agreement and then present it to Alliant for them to accept or turn down. Max Weaver noted that for years, the City has been waiting for the chance to re-negotiate a deal with Alliant, as far back as the mid 1990’s.

Weaver also noted that technology is rapidly changing, and entering into a decades-long agreement would not be in the City’s best interest. Marsters also noted that underground power lines were he way to go.

The issue and the City’s version of the Franchise agreement will be on a Council agenda in the near future.

The Council also discussed the city attorney position and the human resources position. Most of he Council seemed open to the prospects of a part-time city attorney and separating the city attorney position from the human resources position. Tom Meyer held both positions at City Hall and has since accepted a job in Cedar Falls doing both jobs.

Interestingly, Max Weaver had a complaint filed against him by Meyer for talking about the prospects of separating his two job duties. Now, the Council all seems to be open to that idea.

Moving forward, City Administrator Brent Trout will be handling the human resources duties and two local attorneys will be splitting the duties of city attorney.

“Attorney Jim Locher has stated he would provide legal services for the City on the civil side of issues but is not interested in providing support before the Magistrate Court,” Trout said in a memo. “Attorney Mark Young has stated that he is interested in providing legal services for civil issues and Magistrate Court,” he continued. Council seemed fine with this idea and will likely show up on a Council agenda soon.

Watch video of work session:


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