Hermann vs. MoPEP Lawsuit Ending – On March 9 the MoPEP Power Pool Board of Directors passed a motion to accept the recommendation of their rate committee approving an agreement similar to one already approved by the Hermann Board of Aldermen. These motions pave the way to end the lawsuit filed by the City of Hermann in 2014 against their electric supplier, MoPEP. If this lawsuit had not been terminated and instead carried to its conclusion, Hermann’s attorneys estimate the total cost would have been about $600,000.
The history of the lawsuit began in 2013-14 when Hermann Mayor Grannemen opened conversations with MoPEP that she hoped would find common ground for resolving the differences between the organizations. This was not completed before the mayoral election of 2014, an election that she lost. Had the election gone differently, this matter may have been resolved without a need for litigation. Her successor, Mayor Shabel, insisted on suing and that is what he did. The lawsuit actually killed the negotiation process and created animosity between the parties which had to be overcome. Not a single positive thing resulted from the lawsuit.
When I ran for mayor last year, I promised the people of Hermann that I would critically evaluate the lawsuit and Hermann’s relationship with MoPEP to determine the facts and then decide whether to continue the lawsuit or drop it. The Board of Aldermen and I hired a very knowledgeable utility expert to help with this evaluation, which extended over six months and used data from many sources.
Research carried out by our expert and our own experienced personnel resulted in areas of concern that the two parties have addressed and adjustments are being made. Hermann and an independent national research firm concluded that MoPEP is positioned to provide quality electric supply at reasonable and competitive prices for many years to come. The overwhelming conclusion is that Hermann is better off remaining a member of MoPEP and operating our own electric company.
The City of Hermann and Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce are developing changes to the existing website, VISITHERMANN.COM, as well as an agreement covering the website’s joint operation.
Both parties have claimed website ownership for years and this has been divisive at times. We must cooperate and support one another! I am simultaneously expediting both website development and researching ownership to shorten the time necessary to complete the upgrades and produce a better, more valuable website for our tourists and businesses. I maintain that there should be only one website because that is best for the users and lodgers.
Information regarding events, attractions, restaurants and lodging options will be easier to find, access and use. At present, we are awaiting suggested changes from the Chamber’s Lodging Council and we are standing by to incorporate them into the lodging section of the website. Those changes will immediately be sent to the webmaster who has been notified and is waiting for them. We are also updating the appearance of the home page, freshening the entire website and limiting advertising to avoid clutter.
We have a few differences to discuss and resolve but we are well on our way to an effective operational partnership.
City Finance and Business continue to improve. Overall business activity, as shown by sales tax collections, are up 7percent for the first 8 months of Fiscal Year 2016/17, compared to the same period last year. The Lodging Tax component is up 34 percent for the same period and has increased each of the last seven consecutive months when compared to the previous year. New businesses are opening but please do not forget the existing businesses. All Hermann businesses deserve your financial support!
Don’t forget to attend the Mouse Races at Firehouse 1 Saturday night, March 18. Post time will be 7. Stop by and help support Hermann’s own volunteer fire department and firefighters.
My Walk and Talk with the Mayor will begin on Friday, April 7, at 9 a.m. at the 1906 Firehouse. Until then, stop by City Hall or call me at 573-486-2529 any time. Now I have to get back to work!