Electric rates was the main agenda discussed at the Altus Municipal Authority and Altus City Council meeting on Tuesday.
There were three options given for electric rate changes to compensate for ordinance 2015-15 which corrected the PCA charges.
Councilman Chris Rifle asked if it would be possible to approve one option for 90 days, then return and amend for another option. Councilman Dwayne Martin asked Attorney Catherine Coke if different wording could be used in the ordinance. Councilman Rick Henry stated, “I think that we need a real rate study. I don’t trust that company, and I am not comfortable with changing rates with these options.”
Former city councilman Scot Simco was present and asked, “Are we raising rates to recoup the large amount of money since the June 2015 billing cycle, and why is the little guy having to again pay more money than the big guy?” Simco was referring to the different increase hikes between residential, small commercial, large commercial, industrial level 1, and industrial level 2. Councilman Perry Shelton stated that the Utility Committee may need to review the options and find a solution where rate increases are fair to everyone.
Mayor Smiley states that he did not like option one because it was not fair to small businesses.
After much discussion, the agenda item was tabled and a special meeting was scheduled for Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m. to continue utility rate reviews.
Council then gave approval to rehabilitate the east basin of the Altus City Reservoir and to authorize the Authority’s application for a WaterSMART drought resiliency project grant for fiscal year 2016.
Centerpoint representative Keith Marple addressed council and submitted residential energy analysis audits with projected ratings on electric and natural gas mechanical features. Marple said that with the new addition of homes in Altus and new families arriving, Centerpoint hopes to provide the benefits of comfort, reliability and financial savings to potential new customers.
The final plat of the Mesquite Meadows addition to the City of Altus was approved as recommended by the City Planning Commission, and the amended agreement for Mesquite Meadows addition master plan between the City and the Nassaney Land Company was also approved.
The vote to choose which fire station construction plan option to proceed with was tabled.
The authorization of staff to go to bid to remodel the library building for the Altus Senior Activity Center (ASAC) was approved but with changes and modifications to the wording. Councilman Jason Winters had toured the library and met with meal site staff and directors. After researching the remodeling plans he discovered very limited access of the kitchen area, and equipment would be allowed, and the center would close by 3 or 4 p.m., not allowing evening activities. He stated that additional seniors were most likely to use the center if it was more than a meal site.
No actions or votes were taken in executive session. Mayor Smiley formed a MAPS project committee of Councilman Jason Winters, Chris Riffle and Kevin McAuliffe and said the ribbon cutting for the renovated reverses osmosis water treatment plant was going to be held Friday, April 8 at 1 p.m. at the City Reservoir.
The meeting adjourned with Councilman Henry praising the talented youth performances on Saturday at the Altus City Auditorium. Councilman Winters said over the weekend Altus had eight great activities taking place.
Before closing, Larry Shelton gave a reminder of the Special City Council meeting that will be held on Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the employment of a city manager, as well as to review the utility electrical rates.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077