Councilman Robert Catalanello & council candidate Patrick Rowe stress the need for two important changes next year to our Electric Utility.
First, we need to provide taxpayers with a much needed rate cut. “At a minimum, we should look to cut rates 10%, if not more, when our electricity wholesale rates drop on June 1,” Mr. Rowe stated. Five years ago Madison locked in a long-term wholesale electricity purchase rate that forced the council to increase rates by almost 60% in two just years - 2008 & 2009. That contract, signed in 2008, finally expires in the spring of 2014.
"In 2011 the council began to opportunistically purchase smaller chunks of supply spread out over future delivery dates. This will result in significantly lower wholesale costs for the borough, which will in turn generate considerably greater surpluses," Councilman Catalanello noted.
We have been advocating for a detailed analysis of the additional surpluses the borough can reasonably expect to generate from the reduced electric purchasing price, and a public discussion about how to best utilize the extra $5 – 7 million we’ve estimated will be available.
The borough has many competing needs including an aging infrastructure that requires constant attention and funding, and a taxpayer base that needs relief from ever increasing taxes and utility costs. We feel strongly that a good portion of this savings should be passed back to the community, which has been paying some of the highest electric rates in the area. A rate cut on June 1 will allow taxpayers to keep hundreds of dollars per year that they had been paying to the Electric Utility.
Second, if elected, we will require that both the electric and water utilities produce annual financial statements that will be mailed to the residents with their bills that details their financial standing. Included in this statement will be the gross amount of surplus generated and an accounting of any surplus the utility gives back to the town with detailed explanation of how that surplus was spent. We will also insist that it outlines a multi-year capital plan and a way to fund it. Recent events have shown that we need to look for an alternate path to bring electricity to our power grid, and we should look to harden any other areas that have proven to be vulnerable in bad weather.
It is critical that the additional surpluses are used to 1.) Provide relief to our taxpayers, 2.) Keep our utilities in top shape, and 3.) Fund much needed capital projects, like the repair of our roads and sewers.
We look forward to meeting and speaking with Madison voters between now and Election Day – November 5, about our ideas and theirs about how to best use the upcoming surpluses.
Please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about our campaign. We will have more information on the Electric Utility on Facebook - facebook.com/CatalanelloRowe4Council and our campaign website - catalanello-rowe.com.