Council to implement transaction flat rate

Sarah Ebeling | Managing Editor
Monday night’s city council meeting in Parker had a large agenda but items were ticked off quickly by the council.
The group approved the first reading of amended ordinance 7.0501 — parking prohibited in certain places. City Finance Officer Adam Jans explained that the ordinance would take two readings. The change will no longer allow people to take up lodging in their campers in any location in town, other than the recreational park.
Also discussed was credit card fees and how the city is handling the fees. Currently, the city is paying the charges, last year over $12,000 alone.
Council member Brian Schulte said he thinks that is a lot of money that the city is spending and asked if they can charge that amount back to the customers if they are paying their utilities with a credit card.
Mayor Ron Nelson said in the grand scheme of things, $12,000 is not a lot of money, when the city is getting paid.
Council member Lance Nogelmeier asked if there were other options that the city could look into. Jans explained that Rivers Edge Bank does offer a program but either way, it takes time because it all must be done manually.
Schulte said that at $12,000 a year, in 10 years, that would be the price of a new ambulance for the city.
The council made a motion to charge a $4 flat fee for anyone using a credit or debit card to pay their city bill.
Also on the agenda was the resolution to change the electric demand charge. Jans explained that Heartland Energy recently reviewed Parker’s rate and Heartland noted that it was significantly lower than other Heartland Energy customers.
Currently Parker’s demand charge is $12.25 per kilowatt of demand. That price was raised from $10.25 per kilowatt of demand in 2014. The council discussed raising the rate to align with other municipalities, to the cost of $14.25 per kilowatt of demand.
This change in price would only affect three major energy users — Cargill, Jones’ Food Center and Parker School District. Their prices would go up about $1000 total, per month on average.
The council discussed that different variables will cause a peak in usage and that the demand charge has not changed in six years.
Nelson noted that he does not think they need to make the change and Nogelmeier agreed.
Schulte asked if they would be able to make a smaller increase, a little at a time?
Nelson again said he doe not think it is necessary.
Council member Brett Herlyn asked why this was brought up and Jans explained that Heartland Engery had pointed it out.
Nogelmeier again said that he thinks it should be left alone. Nelson asked the group what they should do? Council member Arnie Erickson asked if they could look at this again after the first of the year? The council agreed and tabled the issue.

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