Letter to the Editor

Your View: Working for the future

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I would like to thank the citizens of New Madrid for taking time out of their schedules to share their ideas, concerns and comments at our town hall meetings. There were some good suggestions made, and the City Council is appreciative of the input. When we all work together, we get the best solutions for our city.

There were two main ideas that kept coming up in the meetings: 1) We understand the electrical upgrade must be done and utility rates must increase. 2) Make the impact as small as possible especially for the elderly.

The City Council took these suggestions and came up with a revised rate schedule. I do not want to speak in percentages, because we have studied hundreds of resident's bills and the percentage is different on almost every bill. I would rather talk about dollar amounts and an average bill.

Under Water Resource Management's first proposal, which was the version presented at the town hall meetings and in the Weekly Record, the average residential electric bill is about 1800 kwh. The increase for this bill would have been $40/month. With the Council's revised plan, this same 1800 kwh bill would have an increase of $21/month. When you add this to the average increase for water of $8/month and sewer of $7/month, the total increase for the average residential customer would be about $36/month or about $1.15 per day. Commercial and Industrial rates are figured differently. There is currently a meeting being scheduled with these customers to explain how the rate increase would affect them.

This revised plan would not compromise the integrity of our upgrades. It would put the electrical system in good condition and make a good start on upgrading our water distribution system. The decrease in rates would be accomplished mostly by using a portion of the reserves that the electric department has put in the bank for emergencies. The remaining reserve would still be sufficient to protect the city from unforeseen emergencies.

The City Council understands that many customers' bills will be below the average and many will be above. Call Municipal Light & Power (573)748-2458 and staff will compute your average bill using the revised rate plan. I encourage you to take advantage of this service. Please be patient as this will take a few moments. If possible, let staff calculate and call you back. Also, if you have questions about how the study was done or what numbers were used feel free to ask. Find out the facts for yourself, hearsay and rumors only serve to divide us.

This City Council has made every effort to be honest and open with the citizens and will continue to do so. We would like to say a special thank you to The Weekly Record and the Standard Democrat for helping us with this endeavor by reporting the facts to the citizens of New Madrid. Working together we WILL make a bright future for our city.

Mayor Donnie Brown, New Madrid