City pursues power line decision for April 6 ballot

City pursues power line

decision for April 6 ballot

Ray Scherer

City officials began the needed steps Monday night to cement ownership of a major regional electric line that traverses part of Hermann.

The Hermann Board of Aldermen approved the first reading of an ordinance that would place such an ownership question on the April 6 municipal election ballot. The ordinance would call for the election, asking Hermann voters to consider a proposal to transfer ownership of 69-kilovolt electric lines to Jefferson City-based Central Electric Power Cooperative.

At the board's regular meeting, Mayor Bruce Cox provided some background on the circumstances that surround the high-voltage lines and the need for action by voters.

"We have no equipment" that would be needed to repair downed or damaged electrical poles, Cox said of the city's position. Such a project, he continued, would have to be turned over to a subcontractor.

"It only makes sense," he added of the transfer.

Hermann City Administrator Mark Wallace said the change of ownership would switch responsibility for the lines' maintenance and upkeep over to Central. Moreover, the city would have the ability to place its own electric distribution lines as part of the cooperative's system.

City Attorney David Politte said the ordinance will now return to the board for a second reading and affirmation for the ballot at the Jan. 25 regular meeting. Also at that time, Politte said the city will be able to consider further language that would govern line ownership and maintenance.

The Central network that runs across part of north Hermann and across the Missouri River does not supply electricity for local residents and businesses, but rather serves its customers in the adjacent region.