The proposed rate change would increase costs for some sectors while reducing costs for others as the city determines the proper way to recover costs incurred from an increase in wholesale energy.
Cartersville City Council members were met at last month’s meeting with opposition on the matter led by industry representatives. Representatives from Atlanta, Dalton and outside the state returned Thursday to follow up on the rate increase proposal and voice their willingness to continue conversations.
“I know some of the folks have traveled here in anticipation of that [item]. Some of those same people know that we have been continuing open dialogue and gathering information, and so it’s my recommendation to the council on this evening, as we continue to gather and discuss, that item be set aside,” said Mayor Matt Santini.
At the first reading, the council voiced concern that requested information had not been delivered and that much of the opposition voiced at the Feb. 16 meeting was being addressed for the first time. In her questioning of a representative from Linde, Councilman Kari Hodge noted that information has since been received. She was, however, unclear as to which issue was being addressed by the company’s presentation of data.
“My concern is, with the wealth of information that we have been given — many sources at this point, I’m kind of confused with what Linde is hoping to achieve at the end of all this. Is it rates? Is it [power coast adjustment]? Tell me what it is you want the to council to determine,” Hodge asked.
Representing Linde, Steven Castracaen suggested that the two items were directly related as the proposed rate structure stands. His opposition lies with the allocation of cost recovery.
“What we’d like to achieve with this process — and there’s a lot of data to go through — would be a compromise in the rate design on the allocation of cost that captures the current method with some modifications that have been presented by our consultant,” said Castracaen, referring to a St. Louis energy consultant retained by Linde, Shaw and Anheuser-Busch.
The proposed rate structure, originally presented to the council in December, was slated to go into effect for March billing consumption. The item is now tabled dependent upon continued discussions and deliberation.
“We’re going to continue talking to customers or partners, and I anticipate that being positive,” said City Manager Sam Grove. “This is important enough that we will take our time to understand the issues involved.”
All other items at Thursday’s city council meeting were met with approval:
• Amendment to utilities ordinance regarding electric rate/rider language modification suggested by counsel due to contract language changes.
• Reappointment of Saunders Jones III to the board of the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority.
• To accommodate students during Civic Youth Day, the April 19 council meeting will be held at 9 a.m. with a work session to begin at 8 a.m.
• A beneficiary of the first-time homebuyer program has repaid a forgivable loan of $4,000 for selling the home before the five year loan-debt expiration.
• Legal support contract with Georgia Municipal Association regarding telecommunications in the amount of $5,000.
• Three-year contract agreement extension with current email backup storage provider ArcMail for $11,873. By paying upfront for three years instead of one, the city will save more than $1,000 over the life of the contract in addition to receiving a new two terabyte storage unit.
• Due to a bidding error, the low bidder was rejected for the supply of four half-ton trucks for the water department. The council instead approved the third-lowest bidder, City Motors of Cartersville, at $96,277.44, choosing a local business over an out-of-town dealer bidding slightly lower.
• Replacement chemical injectors for the water department to be purchased from Saf-T-Flow for $5,762.28.
• Replacement chlorine analyzer for the water department to be purchased from low bidder PSI for $5,580.05.
• Replacement of a water line on Lindsey Drive to eliminate water-quality and -pressure issues. An additional fire hydrant will be installed as well. Low bidder HD Supply was awarded the contract for $17,794.49.
• An emergency item was added and approved for the repair of the alum storage tank at the water treatment plant. The storage tank has developed a large crack and must be fixed before the alum is refilled. Alum is a primary chemical in water treatment. DBR Associates was awarded the contract for $6,900.