Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers was hoping that members of the City Council would finally take action on his proposal to allow business and residential utility customers the option of paying a 12-month rolling average of their bill.
However, when the matter was brought before Aldermen on Monday, Aug. 4, all Rogers got was a motion from Alderman David Rhineheart to consider it. There was no second and with no seconding motion the proposal could not be acted on.
After the meeting, a clearly frustrated Rogers said he’s considering what to do next.
Also at the meeting, members of the City Council raised the city’s electric rate from six cents per kilowatt hour to 11 cents. The new rate more accurately reflects what the city is paying for electricity, Rogers said. Rogers added that because of the new rate, the fuel cost adjustment could be lowered considerably.
The resolution allowing Rogers to enact a levelized billing program had been discussed three times by Aldermen since Rogers brought it up last year.
"I don’t know why it didn’t get a second and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it next," Rogers said. "I believe I gave them all the information needed to make a decision. The only thing I can assume is they don’t want to the citizens to have this option."
According to Rogers, some Aldermen, the City Clerk and some city employees expressed doubt that the city’s computer software program can handle producing levelized bills.
"Our software company told me it would be easy to do," Rogers said. "That apparently was their only major concern and it was dealt with. So, I think it’s a non-issue."
Rogers added that he’s open to any ideas that will help residents deal with spikes in utility bills.
"If you want a levelized billing option you need to talk to your Aldermen," Rogers said. "Maybe they think people in the community don’t want it bad enough."
As for the rate increase, Rogers said when the city pays less than 11 cents per kilowatt hour, customers will see a credit on their bill.
"The city isn’t going to make any more money and the customer will pay for the electricity they use," Rogers said.
The vote on the rate hike was unanimous.
Also, Aldermen approved applying for a matching grant from the state for work at the park on Wood Street, at the baseball field on 10th street and other projects.