Beatrice BPW Sticks With Utility Deposit Policy

BEATRICE – A representative of a new grocery store owner in Beatrice was critical Wednesday of a local policy that requires new commercial entities to provide a utility deposit.

Mark Griffin of BRB Stores, Inc., which is now operating a Russ’s Market in Beatrice, told the Beatrice Board of Public Works the company hasn’t encountered such a policy elsewhere.

:20                  “operate stores”

The business provided a deposit of $10,000…twice the average monthly bill over a twelve-month period, under terms of a Board of Public Works policy.

Utility deposits are refunded after two years of good standing on utility payments. The customer, as an alternative that meets the requirement can provide a line of credit…with no cash deposit…or opt for a certificate of deposit, which is refunded with interest.

BPW Chairman Dave Eskra says the board is being consistent with its policy.

:15                  “into the future”

The formula for the deposit has remained the same since 1970.  BPW Manager Tobias Tempelmeyer says the city in 2010, removed an exemption for commercial applicants who also owned the real estate used by their business.

Griffin says BRB opted not to go the route of a CD and said a letter of credit would still come with a fee attached.

:12                  “like this”

City officials say banks will often waive that fee, based on a company’s sound financial status.

The policy forgives one late utility payment per year, over the two-year period.  Board member Darin Baehr said the BPW doesn’t want to get into the habit of assessing a company’s financial strength.

:32                  “by a deposit”

Board of Public Works member Bob Moran says the board must uphold its own policies.  Should they begin to deter growth in the community, it can revisit policy. He says the policy has nothing to do with credit quality of a business.

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