Moving Targets

I am told that, at a recent meeting of the Electric City Power Board, Ms. Balzarini stated that "SME intends to own 100% of the power plant." This, apparently, was met with a collective yawn.


Originally the City told us we would own 25% of the plant. Then it was 17.5%. Then 25%. Then 15%.

Don't worry, though, because it's a moving target.

I was present at the June 2007 meeting, where City Manager Lawton explained the determination of the City's share: "After an updated load forecast showed that the SME cooperatives’ needs had increased, the City’s share is now projected to be 15%. He stated that in the project’s five years of development, there have been several changes in the size and ownership shares of each of the SME members. The formula used to arrive at the current 15% is the same. HGS Capacity minus the cooperatives’ share equals the City’s share. The cooperatives’ loads have grown more than expected, hence their expanded share. Lawton noted that further changes are possible before the financial closing. Based on the assumption of one-quarter ownership, the City has contributed 25% to the development cost thus far. At the time of financial closing, the City’s final payment will be adjusted to reflect previous payments and final ownership share." [Emphasis Added]

He made it sound as though it had always been thus: The co-ops get theirs and the City gets...sloppy seconds, as it were. If the co-ops' share uses up all the power, well, the City's outta luck. (Although SME will still be happy to sell us power from their portfolio, at market price no doubt. Geez, whatta deal!)

I don't think it has always been thus. I have been paying close attention to this for well over half a year now, and this is the first time I ever heard Mr. Lawton say we only get what the co-ops don't want. Don't blow smoke, if the deal has changed, tell us.

But if it has always been like this, pray tell why we have been happily funding 25% of the development costs of the power plant to the tune of over $1.5 MILLION dollars? Did the City Commission know that we were contributing this money to a private company's start up expenses, interest free, without any guarantee of ownership? I don't know what what would be worse, if the Commission didn't know this...or if they did!

This is what happens when you embark on a hundred million dollar venture without a signed contract.

I wonder if this little 'change' in the status of the coal plant has anything to do with City Manager Lawton's retirement? Hmmmm.

It is time for someone on the City Commission to step up and find some answers. Level with us. What is going on? Where is our "moving target" today, and where is it going tomorrow?

I am starting to think that our only hope lies with the County.

(P.S. I almost asked "...and where is the Tribune? Why aren't they reporting this?" I don't even bother anymore.)


a-fire-fly said...

But SME originally applied to RUS in 2004. In that application we are listed as supplying 15% of the money. How can the City not have known that?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Geeguy, but I'm going to have to ESCORT YOU OFF OF THE BLOGOSHPERE! You are just asking TOO MANY questions that are "impertinent", and you refuse to "stay on point". Not only that, you are "combative"! SO, as self-appointed mayor of the blogoshpere, you must go! (and I think it took me longer than three minutes to read that post too!) So, leave!..........and take the Tribune WITH you! Oh wait, they can stay. They would NEVER violate city policy by actually investigating something!


Anonymous said...

Where I come from the city manager would now retire and go to work for SME.

GeeGuy said...

He assures us that will not happen.

Anonymous said...

But does he say "there is no risk" of that happening?

Anonymous said...

Fabulous posts....roflol Anonymous II's" But does he say "there is no risk" of that happening?

Could the Moving Target documentation be in the file marked We Don't Need No Stinkin' Public Oversight?

oversight~S: (n) supervision, supervising, superintendence, oversight (management by overseeing the performance or operation of a person or group)