Rate increase irks him

Published 6:55 am Saturday, January 30, 2010

To the Editor:

Just a few months ago. International Paper announced the shutdown of the mill. The city and Isle of Wight County have been in a “tizzy” over what we are going to do losing all of this tax base.

Meetings were held at the Paul D. Camp College Workforce Center, etc., on how we were going to look after the citizens and their loss of income.

A few months later, the city announces an increase coming up for electrical rates. It seems they were not charging enough to be in line with Dominion Power. It looks to me that this would have been a great incentive for prospective businesses to look at how much less our rates are versus the surrounding areas; but now if I was a business wanting to relocate, or new one, I would look at this as they are just like everyone else wanting every dollar they can get.

I have been a citizen of Franklin since 1998 and was always under the impression that the reason the city had its own power and light division was to provide its citizens a much cheaper rate with a reasonable profit.

It has only been a few years since the power and light division was complaining because the city was transferring funds from their budget (profits) and not going back to them for electrical improvements. Since this time, I have not seen where this was a losing enterprise.

I know the city hired consultants to study the rates, but from my experience of working at Union Camp for 40 years, any time a consulting firm was hired, changes were always made. If they didn’t make recommendations to change, then they wouldn’t have been doing the job for which they were hired.

Same thing with the electrical rates — if they had not recommended an increase, then they didn’t do what they were hired for. Just another way for officials to pass the blame.

Is this just the tip of the iceberg for the citizens of Franklin on increases in our taxes?

John I. Duck Jr.