Tuesday evening was the monthly meeting of the Blooming Grove Town Board. Despite the 3″ of rain in Goodhue County on the way over, the Town Hall was sunny and dry!

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Inside was a little stormier, as the community discussed the Simon Industries power plant and the exemption to personal property taxes that the developers demanded. Township and Waseca County officials had learned what that estimated $2,258,000 tax exemption meant, what their options were, and have passed resolutions that require negotiation of a Host Fee Agreement that will provide some measure of revenue to the community.

My client, Nancy Prehn, spoke with the Board and the standing room only crowd.

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Nancy filled them in about the timeline of events leading up to that evening’s meeting, with a handout clarifying when bills were introduced, when local governmental units learned of the plan, when neighbors learned of the 325MW power plant — facts important to understand the necessity of close scrutiny of proposals such as this exemption. She’s appreciative of the movement of the Town Board and wants a commitment to continue to learn about power plants so that if and when a power plant proposal comes forward, they will be able to review it effectively and not be caught unawares as they and the County were with this exemption request. Only with education can they know their rights and protect the township’s interests.

Sen. Dick Day and Rep. Connie Ruth also spoke to the crowd.

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Sen. Dick Day
opened with a nasty attack of Nancy Prehn, saying that in his 29 years in office he’d never experienced such viscious attacks, and specifically blasted Nancy Prehn personally, naming her and guesturing towards her. This was so bizarre, unbecoming behavior in a state Senator who was until recently the Senate Minority Leader. He abusively dismissed the diligent work of a private citizen who changed the local government’s position and helped them gain a position of power, from which they can negotiate an agreement. Without Nancy Prehn’s work, there would be no Host Fee Agreement, and the County and Township would have given away their right to gain some revenue, in fact would have given away the revenue itself! Nancy’s work was recognized and praised by the editorial board of the Waseca paper. I hope that the people assembled paid close attention to his behavior and hold him accountable in the voting booth in 2006. Then again, maybe the rumor I’ve heard is that he isn’t running again — behavior like that in public lends to that conclusion.

One of Dick Day’s statements that clued me in that he hasn’t done his homework was about need for power. He said, “We sure need the power. I hope nobody here disagrees with that!” He’s clearly not read the industry and market reports about the power glut, such as the NERC 2004 Long-term Reliability Assessment, but even so, the proof is in front of him. EJ Simon himself made references to the difficulty of negotiating a favorable Power Purchase Agreement. If the power was needed, he’d have had a PPA a long time ago!

Here’s EJ Simon, in his first appearance at Blooming Grove Town Hall, and his sidekick, Rick Free, formerly of NSP in transmission and operations who has been the one on the front lines.

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Both EJ and Rick did a good job of explaining their position, difficult because the project is in such a preliminary stage. They aren’t at a point where they can begin to pass some of the preliminary milestones, so there just isn’t much to say!

Here’s Rob and Ginny Hermel — they live right next door and when they look out the window, they would see a power plant. They bought their house two years ago, and when they did, they were NOT informed that there was an existing permit for a 46MW plant, and news of the 325MW plant hit them out of nowhere. Their expressions show their feelings about discovering a power plant will be their new neighbor and the sellers of their home did not disclose. It’s my hope that they’ll be able to learn a lot about power plants and siting in this pause in the action, and if this project goes forward, participate and provide leadership in directing the outcome.

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And here’s a report from the Waseca County News about the meeting:

Power Plant Issue Hammered Out Again

Yes, a quote of Dick Day talking to and about Nancy Prehn is there. He said:

“I think you’re a very vicious lady. I’ve never had anybody talk to me like this in my 29 years of public service.”

Let me see if I understand this… Sen. Dick Day authors bills for exemption of power plants from personal property tax, in the case of Simon Industries saving them taxes of $2,258,000 annually! In his bill, SF 315 early this session, he requires a Host Fee Agreement, giving local government the benefit of some revenue. For the Simon plant, he leaves out the township and doesn’t require a Host Fee Agreement, and then brings it to the legislature BEFORE the County approves it, and doesn’t even tell the township? Nancy Prehn discovers this and through her work the County and Township now are able to negotiate Host Fee Agreements, which was not possible before, and she’s asking him why he left out the township and Host Fee Agreement in SF 2091, and wants him to correct it. This is Dick Day’s response? Instead of thanking Nancy Prehn, and quickly correcting the legislation to add the township and a Host Fee Agreement, he says:

“I think you’re a very vicious lady. I’ve never had anybody talk to me like this in my 29 years of public service.”

Who is he serving? Who is he representing? Who does he answer to? O

Sen. Dick Day can be reached at his St. Paul Office (651) 296-9457, or at home at (507) 451-0165.

One Response to “Blooming Grove Township – Sen. Dick Day shows his true colors”

  1. Kevin B Says:

    Change is good but Dick Day has not changed since his days as a Realtor in Owatonna. I grew up there and his name was always popping up he was a self centered and egotistical bag of hot air then..Has not changed. Just has a larger audience now.

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