Local News

February 5, 2013

Concerns remain over new LMU plant

Citizens, council members discuss details at recent council meeting

With the Logansport Municipal Utilities Service Board’s unanimous decision to recommend the city enter into a memorandum of understanding with Pyrolyzer to develop its new power plant, the issue was brought up at Monday’s Logansport City Council meeting, drawing questions and concerns from council members and citizens as talks continue to move forward.

As is customary at city council meetings, citizens had the chance to make comments before official business was conducted. While the speakers expressed a range of concerns, all four of them spoke to the amount of money the city has spent in consulting fees for the project.

Julie Kitchell mentioned the $111,453.79 of public funds that was itemized in documents recently released by the city specifying how money has been allocated to the consultants from June to November 2012. Among her concerns was the more than $6,000 spent on food and lodging for the consultants, along with the more than $350 spent on meeting space, which she said could easily be found in the city for free.

Kitchell also sought more information regarding why the consultants’ contracts were approved without any oversight from neither the public nor the city council.

Mayor Ted Franklin responded to this by citing the budget the council appropriates every year, which stipulates the possibility of extra funds may go toward contracts like these without the approval of the of the council itself.

When Kitchell attempted to address council members directly, she was interrupted by Franklin and told that the portion of the meeting was only for comments and that a separate meeting would have to be scheduled with the council where she could express her concerns.

Jim Brugh also addressed the use of public funds going to consultants.

Citing his experience in law, Brugh said, “It is unprecedented in business... to just hand somebody in an organization as small as we are — the city of Logansport — and not have an accounting.”

The city has currently spent $509,000 on consulting fees and Franklin recently said he expects to spend around $400,000 more.

“These consultants come and go,” Brugh continued. “Account for every single penny before you give $4 more, let alone $400,000 more because it is the public purse and this is serious.”

Pharos-Tribune columnist David Kitchell spoke on this matter as well.

“To date, we’ve simply invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultants and vendors and not the residential, commercial and industrial ratepayers we should be serving with this process,” Kitchell said.

Kitchell advocated that the city and LMU search out all alternatives for LMU’s need to refurbish. Among his suggestions were seeking solutions from the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, or IMPA, a wholesale electric power provider established in 1983. Kitchell said IMPA’s average electric rates are well below Logansport’s average as well as investor-owned utilities.

According to Pyrolyzer’s proposal, the plant it would develop would be owned by investors.

IMPA stated on its website that as of July 2012, its members paid an average of $11.44 less per month than investor-owned utilities.

“How Pyrolyzer will set its rates remains to be determined or even publicly explained,” Kitchell said. “Pyrolyzer is in the business to make money, but how much money it makes will somewhat be dependent on what it charges us.”

Kitchell also spoke on IMPA’s longstanding presence in the state compared to Pyrolyzer, which only has its pilot plant in Germany to back its claims.

While Franklin had denied Julie Kitchell’s questioning, he, council members and LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman seemed to indirectly address some of the speakers’ concerns when Hartman spoke on the Utilities Service Board’s decision to recommend the city enter into a memorandum of understanding with Pyrolyzer.

After Hartman addressed the council, Councilman Bob Bishop asked him if it would be possible to buy power from wholesale suppliers like IMPA.

Hartman said while wholesale power suppliers sell at considerably cheaper rates, it would have little effect on LMU being that it gets its electricity from power grid lines owned by Duke Energy, which sells at its own rate.

“Any wholesale power supplier that you buy from, you have to be able to get that power to your distribution system...,” Hartman said. “You still have to eventually get it over Duke’s lines and Duke can’t supply us with that total power right now and that’s the problem we’re in.”

Even after discussion on the plant ended, concerns among the council remained and will be addressed at the Feb. 14 meeting, where the council will have a vote on its first reading of the ordinance to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Pyrolyzer.

“I’ve got a lot of questions but I’m going to save them for then,” Councilman Bob Bishop said.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or

To enjoy home delivery

of the Pharos-Tribune


For a Pharos-Tribune

eEdition Subscription


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Cass Co. jobless rate falls again Cass County unemployment fell once again to 5.6 percent, state workforce data indicates, mirroring state trends of a growing workforce and what one economist suggests is growth in full-time jobs. State unemployment data released this week indicates t

    August 22, 2014

  • Police blotter: Aug. 22 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    August 22, 2014

  • 5-year-old boy's bathtub death under investigation MONTICELLO (AP) — State police say an investigation is underway into the death of a 5-year-old northern Indiana boy who reportedly was found not breathing in a bathtub. Sgt. Kim Riley says Ian Davidson died Thursday at an Indianapolis hospital, where

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS-PT082114 WWII Ship 2.jpg Return voyage: Logansport veteran to crew WWII ship A Logansport man and U.S. Navy veteran is getting a chance to sail on a military vessel again.Starting at the end of this month, Rex Mitchell Ashby will spend about three weeks working in the engine room of LST-325, the last fully operational World W

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • AP for free? Yes — for low incomes The U.S. Department of Education awarded $28.4 million dollars Aug. 12 to schools across the nation for Advanced Placement test costs for low-income students.Indiana received just under $500,000 from the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program. That amou

    August 22, 2014

  • Round Barn Festival canceled ROCHESTER — A 44-year-long festival will end its run in downtown Rochester indefinitely, according to the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Diane Spore and the chamber of commerce’s board of directors met Wednesday to discuss and

    August 22, 2014

  • Twelve Mile farming contractor files counter-suit TWELVE MILE — A local farming contractor has filed a counter-suit against a farming company that accused him of defrauding them of millions of dollars over the course of several crop seasons.A lawyer for Chad Rudicel, the Twelve Mile contractor named

    August 22, 2014

  • Police Blotter: Aug. 21, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    August 21, 2014

  • Firefighters investigate smoke downtown Firefighters investigate smoke smell downtown

    Firefighters with the Logansport Fire Department responded to a call of a smell of smoke in a downtown office building.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT082114 Opera House Now.jpg Dreaming the old dreams over DELPHI — “To dream the old dreams over is a luxury divine.”That line from the late local poet James Whitcomb Riley was mentioned several times Wednesday at a celebration in Delphi. Those who quoted the line said it was a fitting description for one o

    August 21, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

     View Results