Electric rates get second look
Electric rates are going back to the drawing board after Baldwin City Council members felt the changes needed changing.
Council members discussed the electric rates which have not been changed in 10 years during a work session on Monday night at City Hall.
As proposed, an average residential electric bill would increase by $18 about an $8 service fee increase and a $10 rate increase. City Administrator Larry Paine proposed increasing the service fee from $5 to $13.30 and increasing the rate charged for electricity a penny per kilowatt from 7.6 to 8.6 per kilowatt. He said an average household uses about 1,000 kilowatts in a month.
He proposed decreasing the rate charged to business from 7.9 to 7.2 per kilowatt, and increasing the service fee from $10 to $13.30. An average business would save about $300 a year.
Paine also proposed increasing Baker University's rate by more than 2 cents a kilowatt. The university is charged 3.9 a kilowatt and an increase to 6 was proposed by Paine. Using last month's usage, Baker's bill would have increased from $26,585 to $31,290 with the new rate.
Paine said the bottom line was the city has to raise $2.2 million through its customers to meet the 2001 budget.
Council members suggested changes to the changes.
"I would rather see the (service fee) for residents go down and the business rate stay the same," said council president Marilyn Pearse.
Pearse suggested a $9.70 service fee versus $13.30 for residential customers. Leaving the business rate at 7.9 per kilowatt would make up for the difference, she said.
Council member Gene Nelson asked why the business rate was decreased by Paine. Paine said a model he used to calculate the new rates showed the city was "over collecting" on the business side.
City utility director Terry McKinney said the increases were not enough.
"There are still some unknowns out there," McKinney said. "We won't know what that dollar amount is until next year. I'd hate to see us raise the rates and have to go and raise them again next year. I don't think this is enough money."
Paine will rework the electric rates with the council's suggestions and present it to the council for discussion before any action is taken.
"We know where we need to be," Paine said. "We can go back and tweak the numbers."