Minutes of the Regular Meeting of Directors (Unapproved) Northwest Rural Public Power District, August 23, 2012

The regular meeting of directors of Northwest Rural Public Power District was held in the Conference Room of the District August 23, 2012 at 1:00 P.M.

The meeting was called to order by the president, Gary Fuchser.  Directors who answered the roll call were Bruce Troester, Gary Fuchser, Mike Van Buskirk, Wayne Cobb, Lee Ahrens, and Robert Rickenbach. Jim Johnson will be late.

Also present were Rolland Skinner, manager; Arlene Lahaye, office manager; Terry Curtiss, District Counsel, Marjean Terrell, Rick Bridge.

The Open Meeting Law posting was acknowledged. 

All votes are unanimous upon a roll call vote unless noted.

A motion was made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept the order of business as published and supplemented at this meeting; motion carried.

Mike Van Buskirk stated that he would like to see more of the Board’s responses to public comments recorded in the minutes.  A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded Robert Rickenbach, that the minutes of the meetings held July 26th be approved; Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, nay; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.

Joe Heiting joined the meeting at 1:15 pm.

The office manager reviewed the July Cash Flow report.  Graphs on purchased and sold power, demand and cash flow were reviewed. A discussion was held on the all time peaks hit in June and July.  

Rolland Skinner went over a presentation on the cost of renewables and showed the following slide:

Wayne Cobb left the meeting at 1:20 PM.

(Graph inserted here)

Rolland also stated that we had taken one of the better producing co-generators, that had sold us a few hundred kWh and the calculated subsidies were 32 cents.  In July there was approximately $1,100 in subsidies and no kWh available for purchase.  

Mike Van Buskirk stated that he had spoken to a manager from a cooperative in Iowa and he said they had some success with partnering.  

Terry Curtiss addressed the tax benefits that will end December 31, 2012, and that cooperatives and public powers have different regulations. 

Wayne Cobb rejoined the meeting at 1:30 PM.

A motion was made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Lee Ahrens to accept the August financial reports; motion carried.

Rolland Skinner informed the Board that we have finished all construction requests and will be starting on the Rolling Meadow line next week.  There is approximately one mile left to stake. We have met with the contractor that will be putting in the concrete and also with Besslers, they will be building the Substation.  We have scheduled a kick off meeting for AMI the week of August 27th.

Joe Heiting – Why does Northwest Rural hire a rate consultant?  Rolland Skinner explained the Cost of Service Study.  The purpose of the Cost of Service Study is to identify where all the costs are being incurred so each rate class pays their correct portion of the cost.

Joe Heiting also stated that he still does not understand the reason why the Board hired another attorney and why Mr. Curtiss was at the meeting?  Mr. Curtiss explained he was hired by the Board to replace Russ Harford as general counsel. As general counsel he confers with staff on day to day issues as they arise, and he is as well general counsel for the Board at the monthly Board Meetings.  As stated at last month’s meeting, that due to the concern that Mr. Curtiss had a conflict of interest from those at the meeting in May and June separate counsel, for the Board, for the NADC issue only has been retained.  Mr. Curtiss is still the District Counsel for all other matters. 

Rick Bridge asked what the Board’s per diem is per month.  Gary Fuchser and Rolland Skinner stated that the Board is paid the limit that is established by the State of Nebraska. They are paid a flat amount each month and it is the same if they attend just the monthly meeting or 2 or 3 others meetings during the month.  Rick Bridge stated that Directors, when he was on the Board only received $50.00 per month.  He was informed that at that time they received $50.00 for each and every meeting they attended plus the District paid a portion of the medical insurance for them.  Mr. Bridge was also concerned with the time the Board Meeting started.  Gary Fuchser informed him that the board meetings have always started at 1 PM.

Marjean Terrell stated that she appreciated the letter that Rolland sent to all customers concerning the heat and the stress the heat has put on the entire infrastructure and to commend the Board on their foresight on putting an importance on backfeeds and the construction expense.

Rolland Skinner reviewed the Safety Report for July.  The incidents, property damage and training that occurred during the month were reviewed.  A motion was made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept the July Safety Report; motion carried.  

Rolland Skinner read a statement written by our meter reader.  While reading meters he drove down a customer’s driveway and the customer followed him in and stating the only Right-of-way we have is along the line and if any REA pickup drove on his road again it would not leave the yard. Terry Curtiss stated that we should send a report to the Dawes County Sheriff with the threat of property damage to District’s vehicle.  He would see that a letter is sent. Further discussion was held on the District’s access to meters and other District equipment.

Rolland Skinner also read a letter from Jay Holmquist on the EPA ruling for power plant emissions.

Rolland gave the Board a review of the rate discussions we have had with Robert Scrivner concerning the Tri-State A3X Rate.  The rate is based on the on peak and off peak usage. It is a different structure from what we have had in the past and we need to look at how it could affect Northwest Rural.

Les Tlustos joined the meeting at 3:15 PM.

Robert Rickenbach reported on the StateWide Meeting.  Jay Holmquist, NREA Manager, will be leaving and a nominating committee has been appointed.  The nominating committee will have the authority to hire the new manager and negotiate the wage package.

Rolland Skinner reported on the NREA budget; the manager’s wage needed to be left out since it would be negotiated with the new manager.  Gary Fuchser is on the Policy and Resolution Committee, Russ Reichenberg is on the J T & S Committee and Rolland is on the Salary Committee for one more year.

Les Tlustos informed the Board that James Dukesherer, NREA Grassroot Coordinator, will be here August 28th at 3:30 PM to give the employee group an update on NREA’s Grassroot activities.

Terry Curtiss stated that he would be attending the Legal Seminar September 20 & 21st.

A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Lee Ahrens to go into an executive session at 3:27 PM to discuss NADC Litigation Joint Defense Agreement. Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.

Marjean Terrell, Arlene Lahaye, Rolland skinner, Les Tlustos, Mike Van Buskirk, and Terry Curtiss left the meeting.

A motion was made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to come out of executive session at 3:35 PM.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.

All the afore mentioned rejoined the meeting.

A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Robert Rickenbach to accept the Common Interest/Joint Defense Agreement.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.  A copy of the Common Interest/Joint Defense Agreement was signed by Mr. Skinner, Mr. Tlustos and Gary Fuchser, as board president, a copy was given to Mr. Van Buskirk.  

A motion was made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to go into an executive session at 3:40 PM to discuss NADC Litigation Strategy.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.  Arlene Lahaye, Marjean Terrell and Mike Van Buskirk left the meeting.

Jim Johnson joined the executive session at 3:55 PM.

A motion was made at 4:15 PM to come out of executive session.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.

All of the afore mentioned rejoined the meeting.

A motion was made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Lee Ahrens to authorize Dave Jarecke to participate as necessary in NADC litigations on behalf of the Board.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; and Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.

A motion was made by Mike Van Buskirk, duly seconded by Jim Johnson to go into an executive session at 4:25 PM to discuss NPSIG issues.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, aye; Bruce Troester, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; Wayne Cobb, abstain; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried.  Les Tlustos, Arlene Lahaye, Marjean Terrell, Wayne Cobb left the meeting.

A motion was made by Jim Johnson, duly seconded by Mike Van Buskirk to come out of an executive session at 5:45 PM.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, aye; Bruce Troester, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; Wayne Cobb, abstain; Robert Rickenbach, aye: Gary Fuchser, aye; motion carried. Arlene Lahaye rejoined the meeting.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the President declared the meeting adjourned at 5:50 P.M..

Approved: President

Signed: Secretary

Published: September 19, 2012