REC votes removed from reality

To the editor:

The latest action of city council’s current leadership to reduce electricity rates for a few years is consistent with believing an alternative reality.

As reported in “Rebates to be shared,” leadership’s protege, Kelly Singleton, reversed his vote. He stated on June 20, “I also feel it is unfair for one person to hold up the entire process when the proportion of the REC money split was never truly in question.” He then moved: 85 percent reduce rates, 15 percent reinvest.

Reality: First, there were four “no” votes. Second, to comply with resident input given at council’s two REC revenue work sessions, the motion should have been to reinvest. At those sessions 50 people gave input — 44 reinvest, six reduce rates. Third, three times in 2015 the public utilities commission majority recommended to council reinvesting 100 percent.

Representing council leadership, Sharon Soucy stated at a March 20 REC work session, “Our plan is not to rush this decision making process… This is what we are looking for, as a council now, is suggestions.” Without thoughtfully evaluating public responses made at REC work sessions, leadership moved 85-15 split on June 6, but lost when Singleton voted no. He thought more time was needed to review public submissions. After getting Singleton back in line, they voted successfully June 20.

Reality: Leadership never wanted to seriously consider the PUC majority’s recommendations given in May, September, and November. For council’s November meeting, the PUC majority had to demand equal time to present their position to council as afforded the electric director. Three times council majority wanted to vote: Nov. 2, March 21, and May 16. Each time resident presence and input prevented a vote. They finally voted on June 6, but Singleton broke ranks.

At the May REC work session, Soucy stated, “There is no way this council will underfund Greg Jones’s POWER program.” Earlier in the session Pat Knight, POWER board member, stated POWER needed $1.8 million to rehabilitate 900 houses over five years.

Reality: Council leadership has underfunded POWER.

This council’s leadership acts on their beliefs, not evidence-based reality.

Carl McDaniel