Citizens question electricity rates, management

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

FRANKLIN—The city’s electrical rates are still on the minds of many residents.

Clarence Baker of Mariner Street said during last week’s town meeting that residents from all areas of the city are abuzz about the issue.

&uot;(Our rates) seem to be 20 to 30 percent higher than I’ve seen in different places,&uot; he said.

Referring to a suggestion by a citizen group to have the electric department as an independent commission, Baker said the idea looked favorable.

Don Blythe of Clay Street commended the citizen’s group who have been studying the city’s electrical situation and offering suggestions to the council.

&uot;They’ve been doing a good job.&uot;

Blythe also had concern about amounts of money the city has transferred from the electrical fund to the general fund.

&uot;I’d like to know how that money was used,&uot; he said. &uot;An organization that makes a profit shouldn’t have a deficit because you’re taking money from it.&uot;

He also commended Dave Howe, director of Franklin Power & Light, saying he was an outstanding employee.

Howe’s job has been advertised earlier this year by the city although Howe hadn’t officially retired or resigned.

&uot;I think Franklin should work as hard as they can to keep him,&uot; Blythe said. &uot;He is an asset.&uot;

Blythe said that policy issues such as the premature advertising for Howe’s job need to be dealt with as well.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson said, &uot;I’ve been concerned about the electric department ever since I’ve been on council.

&uot;Most of all because of the burden we have as far as transferring money from the Electric Fund to the General Fund.

&uot;But we are easing that burden gradually so it has less of an impact (on citizens).&uot;

She said City Manager Bucky Taylor has been asked to look into some suggestions and that council hoped to come out of the retreat with some &uot;things that can be addressed immediately.&uot;