Minutes: January 22, 2019
A CONTINUATED MEETING OF THE OGLESBY CITY COUNCIL WAS HELD ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2019, AT CITY HALL. THE MEETING WAS CALLED TO ORDER AT 5:15 P.M.
PRESENT: COMMISSIONERS RIVARA, PORTER, ZBOROWSKI, ARGUBRIGHT, MAYOR FINLEY, ATTORNEY ANDREONI AND ASSISTANT CITY CLERK EICHELKRAUT.
Mayor Finley stated that tonight’s meeting would be a continuance from the meeting on January 21, 2019 with the remaining agenda item being the IMEA Solar Farm Decision of Commitment. Attorney Andreoni continued with an explanation of the benefits to Oglesby if the solar farm were to be built. Andreoni stated that Mr. Fodor with IMEA said that the primary benefit to the city would be having the ability to advertise as having green energy and would not show a significant financial savings. Mr. Fodor was then contacted via phone conference. Andreoni confirmed his prior conversation with Mr. Fodor who agreed with his statements.
Mayor Finley questioned the incurred cost to Oglesby, the process of redistributing savings from the solar farm to other IMEA municipality members not Oglesby exclusively and the reasoning for having to make this decision with such short notice. Mr. Fodor responded stating that bids have to be rewarded quickly to keep the vendor’s cost lower. Commissioner Argubright then asked Mr. Fodor how much the specific vendor would have to invest into the site in Oglesby, if there would be any recurring employment opportunity and what will be the savings difference to the IMEA if Oglesby were to withdraw leaving 3 municipalities. Mr. Fodor gave a ballpark figure of 1 to 1.5 million dollars for the cost of the solar farm. He stated that there would not be permanent jobs created but 5-10 temporary jobs while the project is being constructed. If Oglesby were to withdraw from this project the IMEA would miss out on an overall savings of approximately $3,300 over a 4 four year period. Mr. Fodor stated that if the City of Oglesby were to decline at this time there would be further opportunity to participate in installing a solar farm in the next 1-2 years. Argubright questioned “is there any wiggle room in the contract or are you still writing up the contract?” Mr. Fodor stated that at this time there is no wiggle room in the contract to add rent fees for use of the proposed property. Argubright questioned the responsibility of the City of Oglesby Electric Department in regards to managing the solar energy. Mr. Fodor stated that there would be some maintenance involved regarding regulating the flow of energy. Phone conference was ended at this time.
There was continued discussion between Commissioners Zborowski and Rivara as to the cost and effectiveness of participating in this project. Commissioner Porter said that this is too rushed and felt that this project is too complicated to make a decision in just 48 hours. Rivara stated that he feels this would be a good project giving Oglesby the opportunity to “step to the plate and move forward.” Rivara proceeded stating that “the positive part for Oglesby gives us the green imprint that may or may not produce jobs, we sit here and talk about it could cost us $100,000 and yet we’ve got X amount of dollars down at the boat landing. We were down in Springfield today applying for a grant for $500,000 and the estimate cost of that project is just under one million.” Zborowski replied “you’re comparing apples and oranges. You’re comparing something that is actually going to produce something, in my opinion, for the City when this (the solar farm) isn’t going to. You can say you’ll have a green imprint but what does that do?” Mayor Finley stated that the land could possibly also be used for a tower bringing $1,200 per month in rent fees. Mayor Finley suggested waiting until the next opportunity to apply so that the council can see how this project has worked in the other municipalities. Mayor Finley stated that there was additional information regarding this project brought to the council that they were not aware of like the maintenance required. Argubright and Rivara stated that there would be equipment to maintain the flow of energy. Zborowski stated that he was “less concerned with that and more concerned with the up-front costs and getting nothing in return for it. I don’t have a problem with going solar and maybe try again next time. Instead of giving everything up-front they know where we stand now.” Porter stated that “I just don’t see the rush to rush into this 48 hour thing and commit. That’s where I’m at. I’m perfectly comfortable waiting for the next round.”
There were some public comments regarding the responsibility of the City in maintaining the solar energy. There was also comment regarding the cost of the project and the inability to recover what is spent.
A MOTION WAS MADE BY RIVARA, SECONDED BY ARGUBRIGHT to Proceed with the IMEA Solar Farm Decision of Commitment. AYES: RIVARA, ARGUBRIGHT. NAYS: PORTER, ZBOROWSKI, FINLEY; MOTION FAILED.
A MOTION TO ADJOURN WAS MADE AT 6:02 pm BY RIVARA, SECONDED BY ARGUBRIGHT. AYES: PORTER, RIVARA, ZBOROWSKI, ARGUBRIGHT, FINLEY.
Patty Eichelkraut, Assistant City Clerk