Shakopee City Administrator Bill Reynolds talked about his longstanding frustration with Shakopee Public Utilities at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Reynolds’ presentation came in the wake of public discord between the city and utilities commission.
On June 7, Reynolds wrote a letter to the Shakopee Public Utilities Commission (that he says included council input and direction) with several questions about its transparency and water rates, which he said every developer in Shakopee has complained about at some point.
At a June 17 SPU meeting, the utilities commission passed a motion to receive Reynolds’ letter without any further action. Then, on June 27, the Valley News published an editorial by SPU commissioner Mathew Meyer, who wrote that SPU “has been under attack by the Shakopee City Council since its December meeting.”
Reynolds, waving his finger, refuted this claim.
“There’s been a lot of nonfactual information. And I found it really over the top,” he said. “These claims are false. They’re simply not true.”
The Shakopee City Council unanimously passed a motion to come forward at the next Shakopee Public Utilities Commission meeting to ask the commission to reconsider giving a complete response to the June 7 letter from Reynolds, which addressed SPU’s water rate increases and lack of transparency.
The council also unanimously passed a motion to request SPU hire an independent contractor to provide a complete financial analysis. Since SPU is a separate entity from the city, however, the commission does not have to comply with the council’s requests.
Reynolds’ letter, as well as discussion about the donated Lions Park splash pad that was nearly derailed by a proposed $211,000 water capacity charge, has shed light on the tension between the city of Shakopee and the utilities commission.
Shakopee Mayor Bill Mars, who spent 12 years on the SPU commission, said at Tuesday’s council meeting that the tension between the two entities is “very real” and has existed for a long time.
“I don’t feel we’re integrated partners for the benefit of the community,” Mars said. “We need each other to grow, prosper, and be successful as a community.”
The next SPU meeting is July 15, when the city will request a response to Reynold’s letter.