Citizens continue to lament high electric bills

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FRANKLIN—Rain dampened the rally turnout at Franklin City Hall Monday night, however some supporters of the Citizens Against High Utility bills did turn up to protest in between rainstorms.

Dr. Linwood Johnson, spokesman for the group, said prior to the City Council meeting that about 10-15 supporters showed up to protest and speak to the media.

Johnson later spoke at the city council meeting during a public hearing about the proposed 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.

In speaking about the electric fund portion of the budget, Johnson asked council to consider lowering the profit margin to 10 percent. “If the money is going to the General Fund, you could circulate it back to the citizens and encourage businesses to come to the area,” he said.

Johnson maintained he had calculated the public utility department’s profit at 88 percent, which he claimed is too high.

Several other citizens spoke about electric bills, not at the budget public hearing, but during the citizen comment period. Jamaal Whitehurst of Madison Street said the high utility bills were a growing problem affecting many citizens in the city. He suggested council consider paying directly to the service provider instead of the city.

Another citizen spoke on behalf of his mother’s electric bill and Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn directed him to speak to the city staff in charge of electricity billing.

Charles Grant of Banks Street also spoke to council about high electric bills, saying high bills were putting everyone “further into a corner.”