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Darwin votes to sell electric system

December 24, 2007

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Tuesday’s special election ended with an overwhelming number of “yes” votes for the selling of Darwin’s electric system.

Seventy-eight voters came out to the Darwin city and township hall Tuesday to vote whether or not the city should sell its electric system to Meeker Cooperative.

The vote declared the sale of the system, with 75 voting to sell while three voted for Darwin to keep the system.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 1, Meeker Cooperative will take over Darwin’s electric system.

After the election, Mayor Orlan Cervin commented he was happy with the voter turnout and with the decision to sell.

“I think it will benefit all of the Darwin residents compared to what the city would be able to offer,” he said, explaining the better service and rates Meeker Co-op will offer.

Although Cervin finds relief the electricity discussion is over, he wanted to do what was right for the residents of Darwin.

“I think this will be best for all of us,” he said.

Tim Mergen, Meeker Cooperative’s general manager is pleased at the faith the residents and council has placed in the co-op.

Even though the co-op will be taking over the system as of Jan. 1, it will continue to work with Litchfield Public Utilities until an easement is obtained and a new line is built.

This could take several months, depending on the weather, Mergen said. Therefore, residents won’t notice a significant change in electricity until then.

Once the line is built, residents will see less voltage fluctuations and other electrical issues now occurring, he said.

Residents may have already seen co-op trucks in town with crews replacing several of the transformers, particularly ones with PCB contaminations and other safety issues, according to Mergen.

Meeker Cooperative’s residential rates during the summer months will be 8.4 cents per kilowatt hour, and 6.6 cents per kilowatt hour during other months of the year.

As a note from Carmen Buhr, city clerk, the city will not be reading meters until Wednesday, Jan. 2 and the bills will not be sent out until Friday, Jan. 4.

Odds and ends

In other business,

• the council made a motion to raise bulk water usage from 50 cents per 1,000 gallons to $10 per 1,000 gallons. At the previous rates, people were able to take water from the city’s hydrants at a lower rate than the residents, according to Jill Holte, public works.

• the Country Saloon was approved for its set-up lisence for off-sale nonintoxicating malt liquor, and on sale malt liquor.

• the council accepted a bid by McCarthy Gravel, Inc. of Litchfield for Darwin’s 2008 snow removal.

• Holte gave her report, which included a suggestion by Don Welker from the City of Litchfield to hold off on the digging for the Oak Lane root cutting in the sewer line.

Also, a resident brought to Holte’s attention that the curb stop at Louis Kramer’s residence is leaking once again. The council advised Buhr to look into the legalities of doing the work and billing the resident for it.