I’ll begin this newsletter article with a note of appreciation to two employees that are leaving their service with the City. Monty McNearney has most recently been our School Resource Officer which has been very successful. In addition to this service, Monty is an excellent Police Officer and very proactive in his short 3 year tenure with our City. Paula Peplow will be retiring from the City after nearly nineteen years of service. One of our first employees and a tremendous resource, upbeat, positive and with a very pleasant greeting and attitude—we will miss you “kiddo”.
The Colstrip Community Impact Advisory Group has met four times, many ideas/issues have been proposed and discussed. We are in Stage 1 of the process in reviewing and receiving background information. This is the process of gaining an understanding of Colstrip’s potential and the challenges we have before us. These meetings are held monthly at City Hall. I encourage our residents involvement and participation.
Another very important process that is swiftly coming to a conclusion is the City’s role as a intervenor in the Avista/Hydro Ones application of the proposed sale before the Montana Public Service Commission. Avista is 15% owner of Units 3 & 4. As the result of a settlement already reached with parties in the Washington and Idaho Utility Commissions related to this sale and the opportunity as an intervenor we began discussions with Avista. The results of that discussion and upon approval of the Montana Public Service Commission the City will receive $4.5 million in community funding to assist the community in meeting its immediate and future needs.
This process will provide public involvement by Colstrip residents and other interested parties, including affected employees but the City will determine how best to utilize the $4.5 million of funding. The City will be conducting a public hearing process to assure that funds are spent as and when needed. I am very excited about the conclusion of these negotiations and look forward to our residents involvement and participation as we move our City into the future.
The Avista people were very good to work with and demonstrated a sincere appreciation to the residents within our community.
I think it is important to point out, this transaction dealt with a change of ownership of Avista’s 15% share of Units 3 & 4 to Hydro One. Nothing in this ownership change affected the continuous operation or shutting down of the Units.
This was a great opportunity for our City and we actively participated in a successful conclusion for all parties.