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Poole questions electric rate

By John Miller, 03/21/17 1:24 PM


PRESCOTT – Councilman Tommy Poole asked some interesting questions at the March meeting of the Prescott City Council Monday night.

He began by asking why the council hasn’t been discussing the electric rates because people in the community keep asking him about them.

Prescott City Attorney Glenn Vasser said the city hasn’t been idle on the topic, but has had to wait for SWEPCO and another provider to make proposals. The problem, he said, is Prescott needs to get out of the double transmission costs.

The situation, he continued, is being analyzed at this time, but there’s no time frame on when there will be an answer. He assured the council all options are being considered.

A large part of the problem, he added, has been getting the providers to respond. “I hope we have something to present at next month’s meeting, but it may be in May.”

Rena Brown asked why businesses are charged more for electricity than residential customers. Larry Jones, Jr., superintendent of the electric department, said it’s because of how things were set up.

Vasser chimed in saying Prescott in unique in the state as it’s being charged two transmission fees. Solving this, he said, will save Prescott a million dollars a year. Once this is done, the fee structure can be revisited.

Jones added there are multiple players in this situation and multiple aspects.

Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver said one of the reason there hasn’t been any discussion on the issue is the city had to sign a confidentiality statement and can’t talk about it.

Councilman Bobbie Brown asked if the council would have to decide what to do after the problem is resolved. Vasser responded saying there would be several meetings, and no decision would be made after one meeting. The council, he said, would need to deliberate.

Jones said the first meeting would be a question and answer session for the council, with other attorney’s present.

Poole asked when the contract to bush hog the Potlatch property is let for bid. Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said it isn’t. The city has part-time employees who handle it.

He followed by asking Godwin what her job description was. She replied it was to do what others didn’t want to do. Godwin said she’s not a city employee, but is contracted to the EDO. “I’ve been charged with a lot of duties by the city and am at the disposal of what the mayor and council want me to do.” She said her duties include writing grants, beautification and any other area she’s instructed to work on.

Councilman Jerry Hightower suggested going into executive session to discuss the situation, but was informed this wasn’t an employee matter and no executive session could be held.


  • ann

    Twice it is stated that Godwin is not a city employee,yet she has control of the city’s sales tax money. And the mayor and council think that is dandy. Economic development should not include harassing citizens attempting to better the city. She does not live in the city and is not employed by the city. She answers to her boss across town who also lives elsewhere. Why do we pay a mayor? He has relinquished his authority to Godwin.

    • Sam Smith

      Godwins office, her salary, etc. is funded through funds from the city of Prescott and the county. It’s governed by its own board. The city gives the edo sales tax money ( the old hospital tax, remember that?). Not all of it but a lot. From the beginning of edo the director has been like the mayors go to person. For some reason the mayor has a lot of influence in the edo.

      • ann

        Sam, it looks more like the EDO has a lot of influence in mayor’s office. Are you aware of all Godwin takes lead on?

  • Sam Smith

    The solution to the electrical rates issue is selling the electrical system and the city getting out of the business. The rates are high because Prescott buys its power from one entity and it has to transport that power through another entities’ lines. Then comes the situation of the city redistributing the power to to the residents and charging them high rates to cover the distribution and so the city can make a profit. Rates would be very low if the city sold the power system. But as we know…..

  • Patrick Phelps

    The problem as i see it is that those who are in a position to profit from on of the state’s most outrageously overpriced energy “plan” would rather try and make huge profits upfront regardless of the long- term effects on the city. Aftet all, when those in control are required to sign confidentiality agreements you know from the start something underhanded is going on.
    It is beyond reason when customers’ electric bills are so high they cant even put up Christmas lights for fear of being unable to afford the cost of the power!!! Actually its obscene.y
    Its also beyond reason to believe city administrators think Prescott is making progress when residents are moving away by the hundreds. If you think im joking, simply get in your car and drive around Prescott…you will see vacant houses by the dozens!
    It is time perhaps for outside authorities to take a serious look at what is going on in Prescott and to reveal once and for all the shenanigans being employed to line the pockets of those who have allowed this sham of an electric company to charge already struggling residents some of the most exorbitant electric rates in the entire state.

  • Richard Brown

    As a citizen of Prescott i would like to know has anyone thought to discus are has looked into alternative energy being wind or solar energy? What the cost would be to the customer and the city compared to the expense we are out over a year? Even looked to see if there state are federal funding are grants that are issued to city that choose to do this?