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Commission membership increase

Published (3/7/2008)
By Brian Hogenson
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A bill to increase the membership of the Nashwauk Public Utilities Commission was passed 130-0 by the House March 3.

Under HF2788, sponsored by Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township), the city’s public utilities commission would increase its membership from three to five, with the members serving three-year staggered terms. No more than one member of the city council would be able to serve on the commission.

Public utility commissions are responsible for the management of publicly owned water and electric utilities.

Under state law, a city’s public utilities commission has three members that are appointed by the city council.

With Nashwauk being the home to a new steel mill, Anzelc said city officials seek the change to be competitive in providing utilities and services. They believe that increasing the commission membership will bring more expertise to the commission, in addition to being more democratic.

Grand Rapids was given similar authority in 1999, and Delano and Shakopee were given the same in 2002.

The change would be effective upon local approval.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) is the sponsor.

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