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Discussions Continue With Electric Rates

Daily Globe Staff Reporter

SHELBY- City Council went into the committee of whole session during Monday night's regular meeting to discuss matters surrounding the concern of electric rates.

Council member Nathan Martin brought an issue forward which had been previously addressed during the regular Streets and Utilities meeting on Thursday, July 16.

"In 2007, the Shelby City Council was sold what can best be classified as a bill of goods by AMP. In entering into the fifth year contracts and destroying our ability to produce power within our city limits, our city was locked into the promises of green energy utopia. This was prompted by the EPA which would bring our overall costs downs, help spur local businesses, and in process bring rainbows, sunshine, and happiness to our city," Martin stated.

However, Martin expressed the reality of the contracts were quite different today.

"Unfortunately eight years later we are facing a haunting reality. We are facing increased purchase power with an estimated 100 percent cost increase once these Hydro plants come on line. Even more sobering, our overall usage of the city has dropped, but our purchase power has not gone down, it has gone up," Martin said.

Martin explained this information was showing how the citizens of Shelby are being responsible with their electrical usage.

"From day one, I have worked tirelessly with Mr. (John) Ensman, deputy director of public service, and the past two administrations to do things. One, work to either sell or challenge our AMP contracts to bring considerable relief to the citizens of Shelby. Two, to bring electrical production back within the city limits of Shelby," Martin reported.

"I am extremely pleased to announce that in the coming months this administration will be releasing a comprehensive plan that will once again allow us to produce energy here at home to bring some relief to our transmission fees and help bring down the overall cost associated with utilities here in Shelby," Martin expressed.

Martin explained the administration and Ensman took the necessary steps of freezing rates after the second quarter rate adjustment and also plan on freezing rates after the third quarter numbers came out.

"Our fund balance is healthy in the electric fund. While the citizens will indeed have to pay for the council's errors in 2007, there is no need to start now. Unfortunately it appears that the administration lacks the statutory authority to provide this needed relief to our citizens," Martin stated.

Martin then moved for the council to enter into a committee of the whole session in order to discuss a resolution to allow for the 1.92 percent April adjustment and the 2.79 percent July adjustment to be nullified and a pay increase instituted.

During the committee of the whole, Martin explained he had prepared a resolution and an ordinance which would amend section 1050.02.

"This would allow us (council) to put a freeze in place. This will give council, not the administration, the statutory authority to be able to put a freeze in place. This would allow for the resolution to be passed as well," Martin expressed.

"I do applaud the administration and Mr. Ensman. I think they did do the common sense step and freeze the rates. I also thank Mr. (Garland) Gates for realizing the lack of statutory authority, so that we can fix this now rather than being in a hole perhaps six months down the road," Martin said.

Gates indicated the piece of legislation would give council the proper statutory authority.

Councilmember Pat Carlisle expressed she was in favor of the resolution.

"This resolution then comes our ace up the sleeve," Gates stated.

Council member Derrin Roberts stated he thought the resolution was well thought out and it was necessary.

Mayor Steven Schag expressed how much he appreciated the council's efforts and how they all worked together.

Martin stated council could pass the resolution through emergency and have the ordinance go through the typical standard of being read three times for the approval of council.

Martin read resolution 34-2015 which authorized the mayor as director of public service to forego the changes to the current fuel and purchase power charge and declaring an emergency.

Martin moved for the resolution be taken up for passage. The resolution was then passed.

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