BOT hosts, roasts Excel reps

Pam North – Nederland

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 3.24.51 PMThe Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) met Tuesday evening, December 17. Members present were Mayor Joe Gierlach, Trustees Chris Perret, Ledge Long, Randy Lee, Annette Croughwell, and Peter Fiori; Mayor pro tem Kenvin Mueller was absent. Also in attendance were Town Administrator Alisha Reis, Town Treasurer Eva Forberger, Town Clerk Michele Martin, and Public Works Director Jason Morrison.

A presentation on the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing and Human Services, Housing Element, was given by Atashnaa Medicine Shield Werner, who reported that public housing has not been built in Nederland in more than 25 years.

The Nederland Mayor’s Housing Task Force has partnered with Boulder County Department of Housing & Human Services to design and build mountain-appropriate public housing for Peak-to-Peak low-income elders, families with children, and individuals, in order to bring the number of county housing units in Nederland to an appropriate level for the region’s current and future needs. Support from the Town of Nederland is needed to address these housing needs.

Excel Q&A

A short presentation was given by Xcel Energy representatives, focusing on recent power outage issues and followed by a question-and-answer opportunity, which brought heavy censure by local residents concerned about the quality of service provided by the company, particularly in recent months.

Numerous power outages, many of which have occurred during exceptionally low temperatures, have caused problems for residents and business owners. There was a long lineup of local people who were frustrated by the uneven quality of Excel’s service and who were ready to say so in detail.

Their complaints encompassed health threats for elderly and disabled people sensitive to cold and/or dependent upon electrically powered medical equipment; interruptions to business functionality, resulting in lost revenue; extreme inconvenience; failure of Excel to provide, maintain, and invest in adequate infrastructure to ensure dependable service; no rebates on service cost; rude customer service from company representatives when handling complaints; damaged appliances and equipment caused by power outages; and demands that the Town should drop the contract with Excel and switch to United Power or other utility company.

The representatives handling the complaints apologized for the outages, promised better service in the future, and that they would convey the complaints to higher-level executives in the company for action. BOT members and attending public generally were dissatisfied that nothing could be solved at the meeting, but the Excel representatives expressed a desire to return at a future date to continue trying to solve the problems, and BOT members also have vowed to look into finding a solution.

Town Administrator Alisha Reis gave a BOT Goals Update, commenting that very good progress had been made this year in meeting an ambitious list of goals that had been undertaken.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center. For full coverage of this meeting, see the January 2 issue of the Mountain-Ear.