At last night’s meeting of Clinton City Council, City Manager Frank Stovall asked council to consider an amendment to the city’s current budget in order to implement an increase in electricity rates for Clinton utility customers.
The increase, according to Mr. Stovall, was necessitated by a rate change by Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (PMPA). That increase is to be effective on May 1st. He asked council to approve a budget amendment reflecting an increase of 8.6% also effective May 1st. Stovall said the 8.6% increase will mean an increase of $10.85 a month for the average residential customer in Clinton.
Councilman Eddie McGee questioned the timing of the PMPA increase, effective two months before the city’s fiscal year ends. He pointed out that businesses and families have set their budgets and asked if PMPA couldn’t make any necessary rate changes to coincide with the city’s new budget beginning July 1st.
Stovall explained that PMPA had always adjusted their rates May 1st. In times past, he explained, the city delayed the implementation of the increase until July 1st, effectively absorbing the increase for two months. This increase, he said, would increase the amount due to PMPA by about $61,000 per month. If the city delayed implementation of the increase until July the cost to the city would be about $122,000 for the months of May and June. He said the city just doesn’t have the room financially to absorb that kind of cost at the present time.
With that question answered, Mayor Bob McLean called for a vote on first reading to amend the budget. The recommendation was approved unanimously.
Since the budget must be amended by a city ordinance it does require two readings. Second and final reading is scheduled for council’s April meeting on April 7th.