Cascade postpones decision on REC contract

by Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

CASCADE — The Cascade Village Board discussed the potential of entering into a contract to sell Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to REpower Now, an independent green power program, Tuesday.

REpower Now purchases the RECs, which are the non-tangible extra value given to electricity produced by renewable sources, and in turn sells them to other homes and businesses looking to offset their nonrenewable energy usage.

The contract offer would pay the village $13 per megawatt for their RECs, Village President David Jaeckels explained. They would, however, only be able to sell RECs from one of the two turbines as the other was built using a grant from We Energies and that company retains ownership of any RECs produced by that turbine.

It was estimated in a letter from absent Trustee Jerry Hendrickson that the contract would result in roughly $1,500 per year for the village, which would be used for maintenance of the turbines.

Regardless of board support for the contract, a decision was tabled until the next meeting as the board was unable to act upon the recommendation of the Utility Commission until the minutes of the commission meeting were approved.

This point was raised by citizen Susan Lodl, who interrupted discussion to call a “point of order,” an action which is generally limited to members of the governing board itself under parliamentary procedure and the open meetings law. The law compliance guide states “In general, the open meetings law grants citizens the right to attend and observe open session meetings of governmental bodies, but does not require a governmental body to allow members of the public to speak or actively participate in the body’s meeting.”

The law goes on to state that citizens are allowed to comment on any subjects appearing on the agenda during the public comment period. They may also raise concerns and questions about subjects not on the agenda but the board is given the right to limit discussion. Such a public comment period was provided early in the meeting, though no comments on the contract were made during that time.

After being informed by Lodl that the contract could not be entered into on the basis of the unapproved Utilities Commission meeting minutes, the board continued to discuss the matter.

Based on the recommendation of absent Trustee Jerry Hendrickson in the form of a letter, and the board discussion, a motion was made to enter into the contract.

Lodl again interrupted the meeting stating that the board could not make that motion.

Jaeckels, who had agreed with Lodl’s first point, began to explain his understanding that the motion was being made separate from the unapproved minutes containing the recommendation of the Utilities Commission. Lodl continued to assert that the motion could not be made.

“That committee was your recommendation for this board meeting tonight to be decided upon,” Lodl said. “That was your instigated committee, your research committee, your fact committee and any discussion and decision that came out of that committee has be approved.”

Jaeckels then suggested tabling the decision until the minutes of the utilities meeting could be approved.

“Considering what we’ve had to go through with certain individuals, maybe we should wait the month until Mr. Hendrickson is here,” Jaeckels said, adding after making his motion, “costing the village more money.”

It was reported the to the board that the village website was active, though not up-to-date. It is estimated that this will be resolved in the near future.

An ordinance establishing a new truck route was approved. The route will run on East Water Street from State 28 to Milwaukee Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue from East Water Street to West Water Street and West Water Street from Milwaukee Avenue to State 28.

The next meeting of the Cascade Village Board will be Tuesday March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

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