Checking mail will be an inviting treat for city residences as they view a cheaper electric bill.
Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold and City Council members voted Tuesday evening to reduce city electric rates. Thomaston residents will see a five percent reduction in their electric rates. This is the third reduction in residential rates in the past two years.
A 10 percent reduction in rates will affect 524 small businesses and commercial customers. This is good news for Thomaston residents and small businesses in the heat of the summer.
The new, lower rates will take place in the next billing cycle. According to City Clerk Dennis Truitt, the rates will be retroactive and will go back to July 1.
The move came after further good news about the city rolling back property tax rates to another 10 year low.
According to a press release from City Manager Patrick Comiskey, the city began an aggressive cost-cutting campaign in the wake of Thomaston Mills closing. The Mayor and City Council reduced general fund personnel spending by $822,428 over the past four years.
The Mayor and City Council cut in half, in 2003, the city's proposed participation in a new gas fired electric plant set to come on line in 2004.
These two major cost cutting moves and a host of other small ones, including the reduction of the city's vehicle fleet, have prevented the city from spending an additional $2.2 million in 2005.
“We have worked long and hard to reduce the size of our city government and find more efficient means for delivering services,” stated Arnold. “We have established official reserves and have set up capital improvement accounts. This electric rate reduction and the rollback of property tax rates is an opportunity for the city council to return the dividends of smaller government to the citizenry.”
How will an average bill be affected? The following numbers were provided by Truitt.
In a household using 2,000 kw the old bill was $195.09. Now with the reduction the same usage will cost $185.31.
For a small power customer using 4,192 kw the old bill was $471.68. With the reduction the same usage will cost $424.43.
For a small general, non-demand user using 3,000 kw hours the old bill was $395.12. With the reduction the same usage will cost $355.60
“We have our elderly population and small businesses who are struggling,” Arnold said Tuesday, “this is at least some assistance. We did some last year and will look at it again next year. Once again this is nothing but good news.”
Council member Ed Bell called it “ethical” government.
“I think this is so important that the people realizes that this represents character of this mayor, council and city manager,” Bell said. “It would be very easy to ignore this until the end of the year. But with the expertise of our city manager we are doing this in July, and not December.
“It's ethical government for our people. You read about Georgia Power requesting rate increases and the City of Thomaston is voting to decrease not for just one person, but for residences and small businesses who really need it. This is important.”