Upcoming City elections on Gas & Electric Franchises (No Fees)

On September 4, 2019, the Sheldon City Council passed Gas and Electric Franchise ordinances (without Fees) with Mid-American Energy. These two items were referred to a public vote, which will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 – the same day as the City/School elections. Absentee voting has begun; absentee ballots can be cast at the O’Brien County Auditor’s Office.

The polls for said election will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Voters must vote in their precinct and polling place of residence. Please read this notice carefully to determine your correct voting location. Voting locations have changed for some voters to provide consistency in voting locations regardless of election type. If you are unsure of your voting location for this election, please contact the O’Brien County Auditor’s Office.

Here is the sample ballot – The voting locations and addresses for this election are as follows:
Archer/Sheldon Voting Location – Sheldon Community Building, 3rd Floor, 416 9th Street, Sheldon (for voters in the Carroll/Floyd precinct and Sheldon 1st, 2nd & 3rd Wards – includes the Cities of Archer and Sheldon and Carroll & Floyd Township. Note: City of Sheldon voters in Sioux County will vote at the Demco Community Bldg. in Boyden; absentee voting for Sioux County voters is in Orange City.).

Here is the Summary for the Gas Franchise, and here is the full Gas Franchise ordinance.

Here is the Summary for the Electric Franchise, and here is the full Electric Franchise ordinance.

Neither of these ordinances include Fees, which were removed prior to passage of the ordinances. Fees can not be added without another process involving multiple public hearings and a potential second public vote.

Franchise agreements are contracts in the form of an ordinance between a city and a utility company. Franchise agreements provide the authority and legal basis for a company to use the streets, alleys and public places within the municipal corporations for the poles, wires, pipes and other facilities necessary to provide electricity and/or natural gas to customers.

Franchise agreements are the only method of granting a utility the right to occupy and utilize a city’s public right of way recognized in the Code of Iowa. Sheldon is the only City in Mid-American territory to not have an agreement for service.

Franchise Agreements grant the utility provider:

      • The right to install, operate, and maintain utility systems and facilities in certain public places.
      • A limited right to trim trees that may interfere with electrical wires.
      • The right to sell and deliver electricity or gas within the City.

Franchise agreements require the utility provider to:

      • Repair and restore public places affected by the provider’s excavation work.
      • Relocate the provider’s utility facilities, at no cost to the City, for some public projects such as road construction and expansion.
      • Indemnify the City from certain lawsuits and other liabilities related to the provider’s utility system.
      • Obtain and maintain liability insurance.
      • Comply with all regulation of the Iowa Utilities Board.