Sheldon, Iowa — When Sheldon voters go to the polls this coming Tuesday they’ll be asked to approve 15-year franchise agreements with MidAmerican Energy for electric and natural gas service in the city.
KIWA talked to MidAmerican Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration, Kathryn Kunert, who talked about the utility’s reasons for wanting to enter into franchise agreements with the City.
Since the franchise agreements on the ballot do not include franchise fees, we asked why the City would want to enter into the agreements.
The original franchise agreement proposals included a five-percent franchise fee which would have been collected from customers by the utility, then paid to the City of Sheldon. After something of a public backlash, the council opted to remove the five-percent fee from the proposed franchise agreements. Despite the removal of those franchise fees, some in Sheldon have expressed concern that the City Council would “sneak them back in” to the agreements. Kunert says those fears are completely unfounded.
The proposed franchise agreements found their way onto Tuesday’s ballot in the form of a reverse referendum. The Sheldon City Council had voted to approve the franchise agreements WITHOUT the franchise fees, but a petition signed by Sheldon residents was presented to the City, forcing that reverse referendum.