Council discusses request of district
A two-year request by the Baldwin school district for discounted electric rates will have to wait until after the first of the year for an answer.
The Baldwin City Council tabled a proposal from City Administrator Larry Paine to give the district a 5 percent discount on its electric rate earlier this month. The council tabled the proposal again Monday night.
The issue will be discussed further by the city's Utility Committee, and then with the school board.
At the council's Dec. 4 meeting, council member Gene Nelson wanted to make sure the city would at least break even by giving the discount to the school district. On Monday night, Nelson expressed concern that the district might pursue further discounts in the future or that other large users of electricity would also seek a discount.
He said if any change is given to the district's rate, the rate should be based on demand like Baker University.
"I would not favor a straight across the board discount," Nelson said. "This year it's 5 percent, next year it's 10."
The school district is the second largest consumer of electricity in Baldwin City, behind Baker University.
On Dec. 4, the council approved an increase to electric rates and to the monthly service fee of its customers the first increase in more than 10 years. Paine said the increase could amount to 20 percent for some customers.
The increase, which will begin with the January billing, will fund a 2001 $2.3 million electric budget, which includes the city's cost of producing and delivering electricity to its customers.
Paine said offering the district a 5 percent discount would save the district about $8,000 a year.
City utility director Terry McKinney also offered some advice to Supt. James White to reduce electricity costs, including changing how the air conditioning starts up at Baldwin High School. He said the 25-horsepower air conditioner "chillers" draw a lot of ampage at the start of they day, which could be modified to use the electricity more gradually. He also suggested demand meters to monitor electricity usage.
"Energy conservation is really what it boils down to. It would really save them some money," McKinney said.