BPW addresses rumors of electric rate hikes

Thursday, July 15, 2004

As long as people gather they will talk, but not always about what civic leaders would like. The Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works discussed such matters at its meeting Wednesday.

Board Secretary Mike Mills began the meeting with a discussion about public concern over the rate restructuring proposed by Kansas City Power and Light. Changes to KCPL's wholesale rates stand to dramatically increase the amount MMU pays the neighboring utility for power. The board's previous discussions of those changes have apparently caused some misunderstandings in the community.

Mills said he was contacted by several representatives of Missouri Valley College, which is currently planning its budget for the coming year. He said the representatives were under the impression MMU was preparing to raise electric rates by 20 to 30 percent.

"It's just false," Mills said. "We haven't even talked about a rate increase."

Board President Ron Porter and Vice President Chuck Hird agreed such a large increase isn't going to happen, but pointed out that rates will likely go up.

"There's nothing on the horizon that says rates are going to be lower or even stay the same," Hird said.

"We're going into an uncertain situation," Porter said. "But it's not fair to say there won't be an increase."

In addition, Hird noted that it is the board's policy to make small adjustments to its utility rates rather than large swings like the one mentioned by Mills.

While the electric situation has generated considerable interest, MMU's plan to install sewer mains to developing area has not.

Announced at the last meeting of the Marshall City Council, the program would offer funding to cover 50 percent of the design cost and 25 percent of the construction cost of extending sewer lines to underserved areas.

Based on the idea that new construction will follow the installation of sewer mains, it is hoped the program will foster economic growth in Marshall. However, applications for the program have been available at the MMU business office for over a week and only one has been taken.

"Maybe it's not a juicy enough deal for anybody," Porter said.

Contact Chris Post at

marshallhealth@socket.net

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