electrical meter photo

Future electrical needs for the City of Houston were discussed Monday night during a meeting of the city council.

Three representatives of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA), which represents 13 communities, including Houston, in providing electrical power attended. Houston’s contract runs through 2028 but the organization is visiting with members of the consortium to extend the agreement beyond the current term to help it better position sources of electricity.

Two representatives, Ewell Lawson, chief operating officer, and Rebecca Atkins, chief markets officer, set the stage for upcoming talks. Lawson told the city council that longer commitments would help the organization provide a more stable rate structure. Atkins said the MPUA hopes to obtain contacts that would be ongoing, but would allow the municipalities to opt out when giving a five-year notice.

Atkins said the goal is to wrap up the project sometime this fall.

Houston began purchasing its wholesale electricity from the organization after Sho-Power Corp. of Marshfield exited the market. Over the years, profits from the electrical system has pumped money into city coffers that have helped fund other capital expenditures.

In other matters, members:

—Heard from Will Cramer, representing a church congregation that acquired the former Assembly of God property and parsonage on Mill Street. He had questions about tree trimming and utility lines.

—Reappointed City of Houston Housing Authority Commissioner Lois England to another term.

—Authorized the purchase of surfacing material and design for two pickleball courts, as well as one volleyball court, at Westside Park. The cost is about $22,655 with a lead time of about three months, reported Parks Director Brandon Maberry. Separately, the city is advertising for bids for concrete work for the 50 x 80 foot area. The city collects a one-cent sales tax — half of which goes to parks and recreation.

—Will form a council committee to work with the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce to begin discussions about a possible athletic complex on chamber property off North U.S. 63. Those members would work together to develop a plan that would be presented to both organizations.

—Asked for an update on an effort to perform asphalt overlay work in Houston this year.

—Heard Alderman Don Romines discuss the state’s efforts to distribute American Rescue Plan Act funds across Missouri and is working to establish guidelines to distribute about $2.6 billion. The pot is different from funds going to county and city government. The categories are: Public health, public safety, economic development, water, wastewater and stormwater, as well as broadband. Romines discussed capturing funds for the city’s own fiber-to-the-home system and plans to improve the electrical infrastructure at an industrial park east of the fairgrounds. Romines wondered if a grant writer should be sought.

—Heard Alderwoman Sheila Walker ask if an appointment could be made to the Houston Park Board, which earlier recommended Viki Narancich.

—Adjourned into a closed session.

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