City of Hermann hires law firm, will seek exit from MoPEP

Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Legal servicesBy staff writer

The Hermann board of aldermen, at Monday night’s city council meeting, approved a resolution to hire a law firm to start proceedings on vacating its purchase power agreement with MoPEP.
The firm of Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe, P.C. will provide legal services for the city regarding its relationship with MoPEP at a rate not to exceed $225 per hour. It’s the same firm that represented the cities of Marceline and Owensville in their efforts to exit from MoPEP, said Hermann Mayor Tom Shabel.
Before action was taken, Ron Kraettli, board vice-president of Hermann Regional Economic Development, read a resolution adopted by that organization’s board in support of the city’s decision to tackle MoPEP and reduce the cost of electric rates, especially as they deal with industry.
“We would prefer to negotiate our way out, but we must do this,” said Mayor Shabel.
Kenneth J. Heinz and Lee Curtis will be the attorneys primarily responsible for providing legal services, but other personnel from the firm may be used as it deems necessary.
The city may also be required to pay expenses directly to third party sources used by the law firm.
Justin Alferman, Ward 2 alderman, could not attend Monday night’s meeting but said he supported the resolution to hire the legal firm to represent the city in its decision to vacate the purchase power agreement.
Ward 1 alderman Bruce Cox said that while he supported the resolution to hire the law firm, he had concerns about the future of Hermann’s electric energy sources.
“We don’t really have a long-term plan,” said Cox. “I’m a firm believer that we need a plan before we take that plunge and spend all that money.”
Cox asked the mayor where the city would buy its electricity from if it got out of the agreement with MoPEP, the power pool of 35 cities that buys its energy from the Missouri Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC).
“There are alternatives out there,” said Shabel. “We can get an agreement from some place.” Cox then asked the mayor, “Can you guarantee me that?”

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