During a Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works meeting held Thursday, June 30, MMU General Manager Jeff Bergstrom presented a memo establishing an Economic Development Fund within MMU to support the growth of the city of Marshall.

According to unofficial meeting minutes, board member Ken Bryant said he had received a letter from the mayor and had worked with Bergstrom on this memo as a response to that letter showing good faith that the board is working toward the common goal of city growth.

Minutes stated that board member Steve Mills said he feels the subcommittee has not met enough to come up with an answer to the city’s request after just one meeting. He said he feels it is taxing the citizens on their utility usage only to be deposited into the general fund and that the board is being pressured by the city by issuing an ordinance that requires the utility to pay a set amount regardless of MMU’s financial position. Minutes stated he wants time to establish the fund, set it up correctly, have control over it, and allow the board to do their job or dismantle it. He believes it is not the right time to do this without hurting the rate payers or utility.

Bergstrom explained to the board that the recommendation in the memo would make a commitment in a way that benefits MMU’s rate payers; otherwise if the ordinance is passed as written, it would burden two departments already having financial difficulties — water and wastewater. With this recommendation, the board retains control and continues its ability to reinvest into MMU’s infrastructure and protect rate payers from market volatility.

Board member Chuck Hines asked to table this action item so the board can have a work session to discuss the subcommittee meeting. He would also like to present the memo to the subcommittee and let other members of that committee report back to the city council and mayor. Hines made a motion to table the memorandum establishing an Economic Development Fund and schedule a work session. The board scheduled that work session for July 6. Board members passed the motion.

According to unofficial meeting minutes, the board went into special session Wednesday morning, July 6, where Hines reported on the meeting with the city council subcommittee and presented questions that came out of that meeting. Hines will schedule a second meeting with the subcommittee and present a memo outlining the creation of the Economic Development Fund within MMU.

The next regular meeting is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 14, at MMU’s Service Center Conference Room, 1459 W. Arrow St. Meetings are also live streamed on YouTube.

By AKDSEO