Friday, September 26, 2008

Oops, forgot to remind you......

...The new issue of the Community Free Press came out on Wednesday and I didn't get a chance to tell you!

Managing Editor Mert Seaton took the above the fold cover article with his introduction to Springfield's new city manager, Greg Burris. According to the article, Burris' dream job is to be a professional golfer by day and a musician in the evenings. Seaton wrote:

"Burris played music in Springfield for 10 years with some of the best local musicians. He also is an alternative rock fan who owns every dada CD including the bootleg."

As usual, different candidates have different ideas about the best way to run a campaign. I noted in Brian Brown's article "Candidate Questions Opponent's Motive," that most of Public administrator candidate Laura Fabro's time was spent in dissing the qualifications of her opponent, David Yancey. Yancey spoke about his own experience, failing to even mention Fabro.

...and Brian Brown was a busy writer this issue. He also covered the campaigns of Ronald D. Day and Representative Charlie Norr as they battle it out to represent Springfield's 137th district; the 138th district candidates, Michael Goodart (a knowledgeable and avid supporter of the FairTax) and Sara Lampe, Lampe talked about her past record as a legislator. There's more of Brian Brown's work in the current issue...geesh, he's a productive kinda guy!

The City Council Notes column offered some information on the topics of CU's budget rate increases, the new city manager's compensation as compared to former city manager Bob Cumley and further information about Drury University's contractual agreement with the City to compensate two police officers for working full time at Drury campus and managing a police substation there.

Big surprise to me, "Fat Jack" of Fat Jack's Erratic Rants blog had a "blog speak" column in the current issue.

Cutting edge Bob Mace's column "The Edge" is now accompanied by an occasional shorter piece written by Mace called "Straight Edge," less wordy but every bit as entertaining and thought provoking as his original, longer column.

In the "Faith in the Ozarks" section, Kelsey Garman contributed some interesting statistics on why young adults leave church, read it on page 9. In the "Maturity Matters" section, Garman tugged at my heart strings in a short piece titled, "When Bad Things Happen to Old People."

That's only a taste, there is a lot more to read in the Community Free Press. Read more about the articles I touched on and then, be sure and catch the Business section, the Arts & Entertainment section, and Mert's infamous Sports column.

There is also additional information at the CFP Web site, click on supplementals to the print edition, you'll find the link right under the cover shot of this issue. To read the paper online, click on the cover shot.


tom said...

Upon reading your column I find your coverage on the issue of whether C.U. was given a rate increase as being a little off kilter.

Both Fred and I made the statement that city council should request the documentation that shows C.U. is being assessed a 40% rate increase, to wit that still has not been shown nor does it exist.

To paraphrase how this works you can fill out an application to come and work for me and I can accept that application, the fallacy here is NO where did I say you were going to be hired.

Southern Star submitted an application and the FERC accepted that application to this point that is all that has happened, nothing more nothing less no matter how Joel Alexander and City Utilities tries to spin there official side of the story. Unless said rate increase has been passed and thus allows Southern Star to increase the rates then the rate increase is a red herring in this budgetary process.

Jackie Melton said...

Tom, you are welcome, anytime, to think or express you feel my column is "off kilter." In fact, you've given me an opportunity to better explain it.

You wrote:

"Unless said rate increase has been passed and thus allows Southern Star to increase the rates then the rate increase is a red herring in this budgetary process."

I don't think you understand that the rate increase requested by Southern Star was ACCEPTED and SUSPENDED. The suspension of the rate increase ends October 31, 2008. The Southern Star rate increase to CU goes into effect on November 1, 2008.

Now, because there has been a challenge made by CU and other Southern Star customers, there has not been official "passage," as you call it, only an acceptance and suspension which ends October 31, 2008.

CU WILL begin paying the increase to Southern Star for services on November 1, 2008. When it goes before a judge the many, individual increases Southern Star has asked for will either be approved or disapproved, however, it will not change the fact that CU will already be paying the costs of ALL the rate increases beginning Nov. 1, pending the upcoming hearing and a future judge's ruling on whether each individual rate increase is accepted (and for now, ALL of them have been accepted).

I'm thinking some of the rate increases will be approved and some won't when it goes to hearing.

In the case of those which are not approved by FERC, AFTER the tentatively scheduled hearing of May 5, 2009, Southern Star will have to reimburse CU for any rate increases which are later not approved (or accepted) and the customers' bills will be adjusted, in quite the same manner that the News-Leader recently reported CU performed a "fuel rate adjustment" and will be giving customers a rate reduction based on their ACTUAL costs.

That is my understanding.

Do you understand?

Bottom line, Beginning November 1, 2008, CU WILL be paying all the Southern Star rate increases.

I'm bleary eyed and I know I repeated myself and said the same thing over and over. Sorry about that, I'm too sleepy to edit myself. :)

tom said...

"I don't think you understand that the rate increase requested by Southern Star was ACCEPTED and SUSPENDED".

Thus you filed out an application and I accepted it, but I didn't hire you at that present point.

The point is as of this current day and the article you wrote there is NO documentation of an approved rate increase. Nov 1 is not here yet so it is a moot point in this case.

C.U. has the availability to approach city council if and when this rate increase occurs with proper documentation showing the approval of such and then getting council to approve this measure based on the increased cost would be quite simple. This rate increase is for just more than the rate increase which has yet to be approved and thus should be voted down until documentation of increase can be shown to everyone that an actual cost exist. Not some pie in the sky it could, might, perhaps, someday, will see the light of day.

I could use this same analogy to my sales reps which would have me hiring new people within a week, as they either are going to see an increase in compensation or they will not. I would not string them along on variables that just do not exist a couple of months from now. Should I hold off on buying gas because I believe it will be cheaper come the end of October ??

When the rate increase becomes official then C.U. can present a case for increases.

Jackie Melton said...

"The point is as of this current day and the article you wrote there is NO documentation of an approved rate increase. Nov 1 is not here yet so it is a moot point in this case."

There IS documentation that the Southern Star increases WILL begin to be paid by CU beginning Nov. 1, 2008.

So, you believe it would be responsible on CU's part to IGNORE what they know IS going to happen and not incorporate it into the gas rate increase and the budget that is, in part, predicated on that Southern Star increase and, in turn, the rate increase requested by CU?

Jackie Melton said...

Sorry, I didn't read your entire comment before responding to the stickler point of the November 1 increase which IS documented will occur.

Certainly, CU COULD wait until the increase actually occurs, but when they KNOW it WILL occur I don't see much point in that myself.

Council is talking about approving CU's 2009 fiscal budget. The rate increases proposed by CU are not scheduled to go into effect until AFTER November 1, 2009.

In light of those facts, what's your beef with CU not wasting Council's time by making it a later, separate issue, instead, including it in the consideration of their 2009 budget and gas rate increases which will not go into effect until AFTER Southern Star's rate increases do?

I do understand your reasoning. I just disagree with it.

tom said...

C.U. has shown a 30 million or so profit in the operation of the utility over the past years, this money can be used to offset the cost of any increase in the cost of distribution. My main contention is if they were just recovering the rate increase I'd be fine with it when the rate increase occurs. The projected amounts of increase far exceed the operational cost of this rate increase plus we are experiencing natural gas rates dropping through the basement at this point.

The reduced cost of natural gas along with increased transportation just about levels each other out.

Jackie Melton said...


I don't agree with everything CU does, however, this particular discussion had to do with documentation that the Southern Star increase will go into effect on Nov. 1, 2008. There's no question about that and there isn't any question that CU's 2009 budget proposal and the CU gas rate increases won't actually go into effect until after Southern Star's increase to CU does, so that issue, I hope is settled.

Now, certainly there are other legitimate complaints regarding other aspects of CU's budget or the gas rate increase, or, for that matter, CU's management practices.

I wouldn't disagree with that.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you are absolutely correct. The FERC could continue the 'SUSPENSION' of increased rates beyond the Nov. 1st imposition date and CU would not have to pay any increased rate. On the other hand, if the suspension is not continued, CU would pay the higher rates but that remains to be seen.
There are no increased rates being paid to Southern Star by CU currently and that is still a speculative issue, much like the $700 billion bail-out. The bail-out may or may not resolve the economic conditions in the USA, it remains to be seen.
Unless CU, Joel Alexander, can actually produce a PAID invoice, bill or statement showing increased rates being paid to Southern Star, there has not been a rate increase to CU; and there should not be any increased rates for natural gas to CU's customers.
Speculation in the housing market, the stock market, and other investments led to this need to bail-out the Wall St. speculators. NO need exists to speculate on the rate increase that may or may not be assessed to CU; however, if City Council does pass this budget and rate increase there will not be any speculation on the part of CU customers. The rate increase will be applied to their utility bills for the next three years, incrementally. Ha, give me a break!

Anonymous said... city manager, Greg Burris. According to the article, Burris' dream job is to be a professional golfer by day and a musician in the evenings....

Sounds like GB wants to be somewhat of an "entertainer" he may need these skills to secure some funds...

I don't think Mr. Finnie or Cumley even had a set of golf bats.