Another Citizen Speaks Out: Why Are Our Electric Rates Going Up?

Ashland power rates

The Ashland City Council recently approved a 6.18 percent increase in our monthly electrical bill. This comes on top of a 6 percent increase in 2017 and further increases in utility taxes, surcharges and fees also set for July.

While understandable if there were a pass-through rate increase from the company providing our power, most of the hike was for staff pay and benefits, according to Tom McBartlett, Electric Department interim director.

Charging more for the same services you presently provide to pay yourself more would be considered unacceptable by most communities. What’s even more troubling is McBartlett’s response when asked what the department would do if the council didn’t approve the rate hike. He said capital improvement projects would be delayed or cut. Which raises the question: are there nonessential projects in the budget?

A more responsible approach is to demand the department take another look at managing operations and personnel to their budget and identify sources of inefficiency. The total annual compensation in this department averages $155,000 per person.

Asking citizens to pay more for needed city services sometimes can’t be avoided, but justifying a rate hike to pay more for staff already incredibly well compensated is unacceptable.

Kenneth Wilson

Ashland

2 Responses

  1. Mary

    As it has been in the past, it would seem that the city thinks our money is their money….to use at their own discretion without consideration as to how it may impact the citizens. Only way to correct this is to vote them out.

  2. Amy

    I would like to see the salaries for the Electric department. I don’t think the meter readers are making 155k, so it’s probably the administration getting the big bucks.

    I can understand a cost of living increase, or if they were going to put in a solar farm, but 12% for salary increases is nuts.

    Not to mention the non-electric things that get put on the bill, like our new police. How do they get away with that? Taxation without representation!

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