Twenty days from now, on Tuesday, February 21st, the City of Seymour will know the results of its long-awaited electricity rate survey, to be precise.
But given the city’s big picture, the public meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Seymour City Hall is anything but monotonous.
The results presented give direction to the city on how to proceed with a department that almost solely funds everything within Seymour’s city limits, from paved roads to police protection.
There is an old saying, “the straw that stirs liquor.”
Well, in the city of Seymour, electric sales are straws that stir drinks.
It’s been this way for nearly 75 years, ever since the City of Seymour Fathers decided in the early 1950s to maintain and upgrade the electrical network as rural electrification spread throughout the state. Many cities faced the same decision.
Others, like Fordland in 1952, chose to sell their power plants and transfer their operations to new cooperatives.
70 years later we see how it worked.
Smaller cities often disappeared as business districts, streets and infrastructure declined and four-lane highways criss-crossed the country, while cities that maintained electric companies were largely occupied by people. I was able to flip over and have a steady stream of income to survive. Optical switches for an increasingly power-dependent society.
Proceeds from electricity helped fund and keep costs low for associated utilities that were often not profitable, such as water and wastewater services.
If you’re a Seymour resident, go find a friend in Diggins Village and ask him to show you the water and sewage bill.
The bad news for the City of Seymour is that profit margins from electricity sales have declined in recent years. The cost of electricity has increased. The cost of the equipment required to maintain electrical infrastructure is increasing. The cost of skilled labor has increased.
As a result, profits have decreased, but the electricity profits have also increased the cost of services provided by the city. The police department’s budget has doubled for him in the last decade. A new layer of pavement on the city streets he quadrupled in the same period.
Despite the rising cost of electricity service to the city over the last decade, rates have not risen significantly.
For residents, the cost per kilowatt hour (KwH) is actually a little lower than it was five years ago.
But folks, you have to give something.
Let me give you an example. If you sell oranges at a fruit store for 25 cents each and they cost you 30 cents each, how long will you stay in business?
The answer is not very long.
On February 21st, a study conducted by the Missouri Public Utilities’ Association in collaboration with its utility engineers will be published.
This is a public meeting that anyone can attend.
This meeting will give you the same information as the four elected aldermen, the mayor and the city administrator. They are tasked with taking this information and finding the best solution for Seymour’s future.
The study includes recommended rates for commercial, industrial and residential customers.
Electricity bills will change.
Some go up. None go down.
As a member of the Seymour Board of Aldermen, I can confidently say that your elected officials do not want housing rates to rise. For all of us and city administrator Hillary Elliot, it’s really not an option.
But the best way to understand this issue is to hear the information for yourself. City officials will hear the findings at the same time as you.
What is discussed is the straw that stirs the drink.
The same drink that you pay for the police, the street, etc.
Seymour’s growth over the past decade has been impressive, both in terms of business and residents.
That growth comes at a cost. Because these new homes and businesses need infrastructure, which makes our cities attractive for that growth.