council approves electrical rate increase for Brigham
February 5, 2009 | BRIGHAM CITY -- Residents of Brigham
City can expect to see a rate increase of about $1.40
per month for the average household on electric bills
come February or March.
The rate increase of 1.68 percent was approved at
the last city council meeting. Bruce Leonard, city administrator,
said this rate increase is only half of the two utility
rate increases from Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) and Western
Area Power Administration (WAPA).
In a press release Jan. 23, Leonard said these rate
increases from RMP and WAPA came in August and October,
respectively, and the city has absorbed an estimated
$75,000 of those increases through Jan. 31. The city
council decided against making the rate increase retroactive
and decided to only pass half the increase on to customers
due to the soft economy, he said.
While the city was unaware WAPA had been planning
on a rate increase, the RMP rate increase was planned,
Leonard said. The service agreement with RMP specifies
two additional 5 percent rate increases, one this June
and the second in June 2010.
Leonard said citizens are encouraged to attend the
city's 2009-2010 budget meetings where the council will
discuss these rate increases.
"Although energy rate increases are difficult for
everyone, Brigham City is very fortunate that it is
not purchasing power from the open market," Leonard
said, "which can average nearly double our present costs."
The council also heard recommendations from the staff
on how to cut 3 percent from the current budget. Leonard
said he thinks the most important areas to protect from
budget cuts are salaries, training, capital and shop
costs. The majority of the cuts he suggested would come
from labor costs not being used due to a hiring freeze
and an adjustment to workers' compensation due to lower
Councilman Robert Marabella said that he was concerned
this 3 percent cut wouldn't be enough in the long run.
He said the departments need to be ready "if we end
up needing a 10 percent cut."
"This is just a Band-Aid," Marabella said. "We need
to see where we're trending as far as sales tax revenue."
The council will discuss budget cuts further at the
In other business, the council approved the amended
Upland Square development agreement and authorized the
mayor to sign a reimbursable agreement with the Federal
Highway Administration for the Bear River Access Road.