Is it really our money?

We learned not too long ago that the City's share of the Highwood Generating Station will be 15% as opposed to the 25% previously advertised.

According to the summary provided to me by the City of Great Falls, our "capital expenditures" as of February 14, 2007, were $1,534,412.55. This is, of course, based upon a 25% ownership of the plant.

Now you can see, can't you, why Mr. Lawton's "moving target" is important to taxpayers. Because if you contribute to the company based on a 25% ownership, and then suddenly learn your ownership is only 15%, you have 'overpaid' for your share. In this case, that overpayment would be in the amount of $613,765.02. ($1,534,412.55 x 4 = $6,137,650.20; x .15 = $920,647.53; $1,534,412.55 - $920,647.53 = $613,765.02)

I am assuming that provision will be made to refund this overpayment with interest.

What? What did you say? No interest? Article VII, Section 1 of the Bylaws of Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc., provides: "The Cooperative shall at all times be operated on a cooperative non-profit basis for the mutual benefit of its patrons. No interest shall be paid or payable by the Cooperative on any capital furnished by its patrons." So we have made an interest-free loan of over $600,000.00 to the other members of the cooperative?

Now do you think we should have been paying a little bit closer attention to our contractual rights and our ownership interest? I do.

At 8% interest, we're giving up opportunity cost of $49,101.20 per year. I'm pretty sure that would be a big deal to the rest of us. Not to the City.


Anonymous said...


This really does seem like an Enron/Worldcom financing scheme - who is pocketing the money?

Or maybe I should ask, of all the people getting money out this project, who is/appears to be benefitting from the payouts?

Do you think it is possible for taxpayers to stop this plant? If not, why? If yes, how?

Anonymous said...

The sad part of this is that the City Commission is so defensive over the whole thing that they attack the messengers (blogs, CCE) rather than really taking a look at just what Lawton is up to here.

Wasn't Dona Stebbins supposed to be some sort of independent maverick? That's a joke.

(Oh, wait, Dona won't talk to anonymous posters. Guess she'll just ignore the funny math.)

Coalman said...

Where is the Tribune? Do they not care about this, or do they not understand it?

Anonymous said...

October 22, 2004
Water credit agreement.
SME can decide to not go forward with plant and city must start paying back the $1 million and counting to SME in 60 days.
The credit was estimated to be about a million by end of 2008. It reached that by end of last year.
Why is it that every contract that is signed seems to be written by Mr.Tim. Any one old emough to remember. "OH NO, MR. TIM."

Anonymous said...

moving target
Dec. 6th 2005
City beloved leaders told that our share of development costs were $2,888,888. For 25%. That is a target that the city is moving to.
$516,000 was given to SME before this. We are paying up front for electricty so price that we sell it for looks cheap in relationship to NW. This is a shell game. Tim said to city, "heads I win - tails you lose." And obviously this was all too complicated for us lowly residents who need to be led by city employees. "Into the light" so to speak. City leaders are asleep at the switch.They have no knowledge of what is going on - are stuck in a corner and acting like trapped weasels, snapping and snarling.