In a press release today stemming from this week’s special Council meeting it seems that the Midland Council has opted to sell off our Midland PUC. Not interested in status quo (keeping it and the $600,ooo / year in dividends it provides) or merging to regain some control, they have instead opted to cash in our chips. It was a prediction by many that after firing our last CAO (whose payoff has yet to appear on the budget) that Midland would find an axe-man of sorts to do the dirty work and walk away from the heat once a new, permanent CAO could be found.
We might as well put the MPUC on Kijjiji or Ebay now since it will go to the highest bidder, along with the profits we have enjoyed from this well-run, profitable corporation of which we are the only the shareholders. If you pay taxes in Midland, this asset belongs to you. Are you content to sit back at let it be sold? It seems this Council thinks you are.
Councillor’s File and Main were the lone dissenters and could not support the motion to sell off this asset, preferring instead a merger option since keeping it was not even on the table.
Councillor Oschefski was absent from this special meeting and vote citing a conflict with his schedule, instead he was negotiating a new contract for his union.
Don’t just take our word for it… the former chair of the MPUC spoke out quite clearly but nobody on this Council cared to listen now that he’s happily retired.
Midland’s Press Release, spun ever so positively reads:
These discussions began as early as 2008 and as a result of repeated Provincial studies and commissions encouraging Local Power Distribution Corporations to consolidate either through sale or merger. In 1999 there were 307 Electric Commissions and today there are approximately 70 remaining Local Distribution Corporations, of which Midland is one.
“We are all proud of our MPUC and the high quality of service that they have provided to our community since 1908. But times have changed.” said mayor Gord McKay. “The MPUC Board advised Council that the ‘status quo’ is no longer an option.
Specifically, the MPUC Board has stated it has neither the capital or human resource assets to take on the upcoming challenges. Council accepted their insight.” Council debated whether a sale or a merger, the two major types of business arrangement, provided the better protection to the people of Midland and the Town’s MPUC asset.
Council was firm that any business arrangement would be negotiated with a quality organization that had a track record of ensuring exceptional customer service. Further, Council agreed on a list of 15 points that would have to be satisfied before consummating any deal. With these protections in place, the certainty provided by a sale is a much better arrangement for the people of Midland than becoming a minority shareholder in a merged corporation.
In the coming weeks Council will retain expert assistance to pursue the sale option. Additional public meetings will be arranged and communications provided to ensure that residents are kept informed of developments.
For further information please contact:
Gary Wood Interim CAO, Town of Midland