October 11, 2001

Memphis City Council Approves 8% Price Hike For Electricity

After preliminary reports calling for price increases of as much as 32-percent, the Memphis City Council voted 4-0 to approve ordinance 9-01 that will raise electric rates by just eight percent.

"Yes it's going up, but we have done some things to hold the costs down as much as possible," said Mayor Ron Alexander. "Most everything else in this world has gone up in price a lot more than eight percent compared to 20-years ago."

Alexander was referring to the fact that the city electric rates had remained unchanged over the past 20 years.

The city's engineering study originally projected a price increase of as much as 32 percent to help the city offset rising costs and to rebuild reserves.

"No one likes to see a price increase, but eight percent is a lot better than 32 percent," Alexander stated. He also noted that the council had been concerned that the price change might have had to be as high as 20 percent before cost cutting efforts and other adjustments made the lower price increase level possible.

The city had already installed a one-cent fuel adjustment increase. Council members noted the only possibility for any immediate price increase beyond the eight percent would be additional fuel surcharges if fuel prices get out of control. At the same time they speculated this would not be an issue as fuel prices have begun a lower trend.

Citizen Participation

Jim McClintic was present at the October 4 city council meeting to discuss a pair of concerns. He questioned if any street work had been done this year and if not, why?

Alexander told McClintic that the city had lost its service provider and was currently searching for a new contractor. He stated at the current time the city was receiving cost estimates and bids that were three or four times higher, and only from a small number of suppliers that were willing to travel to Memphis.

McClintic also questioned if the city had ordinances governing abandoned and unlicensed vehicles within city limits.

City Clerk Angela Newman indicated there had been some changes in the city ordinances that stipulated if a vehicle was unlicensed it must be housed in an enclosed building.

Officers from the Memphis Police Department indicated the ordinances would be reviewed by the department and the appropriate actions would be taken.

Department Reports

Light Plant - Superintendent Mike Ahland reported the light plant had received the new air compressor and waste oil furnace. Both pieces of new equipment have arrived but had yet to be installed.

Light Crew - Superintendent Dave Kittle stated the city engineer had reported the city's transformer was still awaiting repair as the contractor was awaiting the arrival of the special cable for rewiring the device.

Street - Superintendent Roy Monroe reported his crew had been busy mowing and installing new tubes. He noted work would be completed on the city's new drainage ditch project as soon as the excavator was able to arrive.

Police - The Memphis Police Department gave the following monthly activities report: 2 peace disturbances; 3 drug arrests; 1 vandalism; 26 traffic stops; 8 accidents; 208 calls thru dispatch; 4 hospital assists; 36 community security checks; 1 assault; and 87 miscellaneous calls.

Alderman Reports

Alderman Patty Simerl reported attending an airport committee meeting. She informed the group about the hangar rent and fuel price increases approved by the city.

She also discussed the annual key charge but noted the group was not too receptive to the idea. She noted that seven or eight of the key holders to the airport fuel pump that were not using any fuel or were below 50 gallons of usage. There are only 30 keys with a waiting list in place of pilots wishing to have a key. Simerl noted it would cost $500-$600 plus labor to add a new bank of 10 keys to the pump. The issue is being discussed by the committee.

The airport committee also discussed the hangar roof seams, which are rusting. Monroe stated the street crew could likely tar and seal the roofs.

Simerl also relayed a request to lower the sign on the left side of the runway after it had been struck by the wings of passing planes as they taxi down the runway. She also passed on a request to widen the runway near the hangar area to prevent traffic from coming to close to the buildings.

Mayor's Report -

Mayor Alexander read a letter of resignation from Bud Wilson as emergency management director. Wilson recommended Jason Moss, ambulance director at Scotland County Memorial Hospital, to replace him in the position.

The council voted 4-0 to accept Wilson's resignation and to appoint Moss to the position.

At the same time Alexander announced the creation of a Safety and Preparedness Committee. Alexander will be attending a seminar on special operations in October to learn more about the duties of the committee.

Alexander appointed Jason Moss, Mike Stephenson, Carol Blackwell, Marcia Dial, Connie Courtney, and Aaron Dannenhauer to serve on the committee with him. The group will prepare contingency plans for the city to deal with emergency situations.

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