City Commission denies Nodak franchise agreement

Joe Mellenbruch Journal Reporter

A number of issues stood before the Devils Lake City Commission Monday, but there was one in particular that drew an involved debate.

The Nodak Electric Cooperative had petitioned the Commission regarding a potential franchise agreement, which would make them the second power company in Devils Lake along with the Otter Tail Power Company.

A Nodak representative appeared before the Commission during last month’s meeting to introduce the proposal, a proposal which was ruled on yesterday.

The final decision: no.

“It’s nice to have just one company provide electricity for the entire city,” Devils Lake mayor Richard Johnson said. “(Otter Tail’s) rates are consistent and we know they’re reliable. We’ve got a good power supplier for this city, and to change that didn’t seem to be in the best interest of the community.”

Another reason that inspired the decision to reject Nodak’s proposed franchise agreement was the notion of having two electric companies provide the same service for different rates. According to Johnson, that was something the Commission is hoping to avoid with this ruling.

“I couldn’t see any advantage of having two providers,” Johnson said. “If we had allowed this agreement, your neighbor might have a different provider than you, but you don’t have that choice of drawing an extension cord across the street.

“To me it’s in the best interest of the community, and  that’s what we’re here for.”

In other business, the council addressed the issue of increased noise complaints throughout the city, particularly by Ruger Park.

The Commission received an anonymous letter this month insisting that local police be more diligent in enforcing the city’s noise ordinances, yet due to the fact that the letter was sent anonymously, the Commission was unable to determine the specifics of the citizen’s complaints.

Johnson and the rest of the Commission would like to encourage all those who send letters into the city office to identify themselves and the issue they are addressing so that it can be properly handled.

The Devils Lake Fire Department currently has an open position, but they will be interviewing four applicants this month with the hope that a hire will be made by the end of the month.

Al Shorey, a Devils Lake Sanitation Department employee, has retired after 36 years of service.