PUC to hear about major economic development projects

NEW ULM — The monthly Public Utilities Commission meeting will include a special report from the New Ulm Economic Development Corporation (NUEDC) at 4:30 p.m. today at the Middle School board room.

Last month, the PUC approved $50,000 of funding for the NUEDC, even though the city cut its $50,000 funding to the corporation. For the last several years, the NUEDC received $50,000 in funding from both the PUC and the city, but in September the City Council chose instead to use the $50,000 for hiring an assistant city manager.

The report will include examples of some of the larger NUEDC projects worked on in the last 10 years, which included attracting new businesses to New Ulm and keeping existing businesses.

In other news, the PUC will review a report on the community solar project. Last June, the PUC directed staff to conduct a community solar survey to determine the community’s interest in participation in a New Ulm Public Utilities community solar project. The PUC had set a goal of reaching a minimum of 120 shares for the community solar project, but only 70 shares were requested by 39 individuals. The commission is not expected to pursue the community solar project.

An amendment to a contract between the PUC and Northern Natural Gas Company is expected to be approved. The amendment is for a five-year extension beginning Nov. 1, 2018. This contract provides back-up natural gas services if the current system fails.

The 2018 preliminary budget will be presented to the commission. At this time only the industrial steam rate is expected to increase by 1 percent. Other utilities will see no rate adjustment.

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