Power plant may be sold in February

ESCANABA – The sale of Escanaba’s power plant is anticipated to take place next month, according to the buyer who says the loan paperwork has been finalized by the lender. An update on the pending sale was presented at Thursday’s council meeting.

Escanaba Green Energy (EGE) President Charles Detiege informed council he received a phone call earlier that day from the company’s lender saying the loan documents have been completed.

Once the packet is received, EGE will review the final terms and conditions of the loan before paying the lender $140,000 for closing costs and document fees, Detiege said.

Following this, a date on the sale of the plant will be scheduled with the city, he said, telling council he expects the closing to take place in February.

The city is selling the the plant and 17 acres for $4.1 million because it is less expensive for the city to purchase power compared to generating electricity by burning coal. EGE plans to convert the facility to burn biomass.

Following EGE’s update, Mayor Marc Tall commented that “the clock is running” and “time is running out.”

Detiege responded, “We are moving as fast as we can.”

For the past two years, EGE has been working with the city to purchase the power plant. Recent setbacks delaying the sale have been due to EGE’s lending process to secure the $36.5 million in financing needed to buy the plant and pay for the biomass conversion.

In other business Thursday, council approved the purchase of 48 replacement dock floats for $11,929 for the municipal marina. The floats will be used to refurbish 12 docks which were purchased in 1983. The project is expected to be completed by city workers prior to the start of the 2014 boating season, said Harbor Master Larry Gravatt.

Council also approved a three-year contract with PLM Lake and Land Management Corporation of Woden, Iowa, for continued herbicide treatments of weeds in the marina. The contract is not to exceed $15,605 the first year and not to exceed 3 percent of that amount in the next two years.

Council also agreed to submit permit applications and pay related fees to the state for a environmental permit and a fall plant survey required in conjunction with this year’s herbicide treatments at the marina.

During a public hearing on input for the city’s 2014-2015 budget, representatives from the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center expressed their gratitude for the city’s support of local art programs and encouraged council to continue to include the arts center in its budget.