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Council approves MEAG bond

WEST POINT — At a work session Thursday night the West Point City Council approved a document associated with the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, or MEAG.

MEAG Power runs off of community owned, not-for-profit power and electric systems throughout Georgia. Being a public power company, MEAG is owned by the state, which means cities who use its power vote to authorize changes in their financing.

West Point’s City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve a bond validation filed by MEAG that would allow the company to do several things.

“Number one is to give MEAG the opportunity to refinance when the conditions are correct,” City Attorney Jeff Todd said. “Some of the money is behind projects one through four…only existing projects, and that’s only for existing debt. They have also added in this validation a ceiling for some future debt in case of environmental requirements that the federal government change and they have to do further work on the existing plans.”

According to Todd, LaGrange and Hogansville have already approved similar bond validations as MEAG requires all participants to do so.

Although they are raising their budget, MEAG does so to stay flexible and not to use more citizen’s money.

“There aren’t any plans right now for that money to be spent and they don’t see anything in the near future,” Todd said. “They would like to have the flexibility in the event it comes along.”

Mayor Steve Tramell showed concern with the validation, making sure that it wouldn’t change the rates of the citizens of West Point.

“Nothing is going to happen without the MEAG board ultimately deciding whether to refinance some of the existing debt or to incur new debt for those environmental retrofits,” Todd said. “That procedure is in place for all projects and all situations. They are just going ahead and doing the bond validations so that they will have the authority to do it when and if the time comes.”

Todd assured the rest of the council by saying MEAG actions like these were fairly standard.

“We have had one or two of these ever since I have been representing West Point,” he said. “You want them to have the ability to do this.”

In other actions, Planning and Community Development Director Dennis Dutton was recognized for completing the Robert E Knox Jr. Municipal Leadership Institute, a feat Mayor Tramell and Councilmember Thornton have also achieved.