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Esky power plant sale still moving forward

November 2, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - The sale of the Escanaba power plant continues to move forward as the buyer irons out its financial contract with its lender, announced city officials Thursday.

Earlier this week, Escanaba Green Energy (EGE) and its lender reached a final loan agreement for funding to purchase the coal-fueled plant and pay for the conversion of the facility into a biomass-powered facility, said City Manager Jim O'Toole at Thursday's council meeting.

The city and EGE will work on closing the $1.6 million sale, he said. In the meantime, EGE plans to present its site plan for the power plant and storage yard during the planning commission's meeting next Thursday, said O'Toole.

EGE's plans are advancing as the company finalizes the "mechanics of the change over," O'Toole told council.

EGE expects to invest more than $30 million in the purchase, conversion and modernization of the plant. Once the facility is converted, EGE expects to employ about 25 high-skilled workers with a spin-off of 75-100 skilled jobs in the wood harvesting and transportation sectors.

In other business Thursday, council approval the addition of property in the City Brownfield Redevelopment Plan which funds environmental clean-up costs. The property, located at 1700 20th Ave., will be the site of a new commercial truck maintenance center. Fleet Maintenance plans to build a 15,000-square-foot building on the vacant lot which was determined to be contaminated by ash.

Council also approved a three-year contract with Local 979 Electrical Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Thursday. The contract, retroactive to July 1, 2011, lasts through June 30, 2014. The agreement includes a 1 percent raise, effective Oct. 15, 2012, with a wage reopener on April 1, 2013. The new contract also allows the city to use electrical workers for snow emergencies, said O'Toole after council came out of closed session.

Also on Thursday, City Attorney Ralph "B.K." Peterson clarified for council that a two-thirds vote is required to go into closed session except for collective bargaining issues. O'Toole also noted that no labor contract is finalized until it is ratified by the workers and approved by council.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,



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