Monday, October 25, 2010

Utility Town Hall Meeting - 10/23 @ Calvary United Methodist

Click here for one of the handouts distributed at meeting.

Following up from this past Saturday's Town Hall meeting on utilities put on my Commissioner Maxwell.  I would say about 40 people attended.  The format was odd in that the meeting was broken down into three sessions.  Staff came around and delivered cards so that you could write questions down after each session - general overview, conservation and customer service.  Well, the 3x5 cards were soon filled with questions front and back from me.  Those were dealt with at the end of the three sessions - I had to leave around noon and could not stay until the end.  I think that they were overwhelmed by some of the questions and they seemed to skip quite a few.  The crowd was a little testy - saying they didn't trust the city and wanted a forensic audit of the utility.  There weren't convinced that they were just paying for the cost of electric and not other parts of the city budget.  They were also not convinced that the conservation program is not "free" in that there is a tax on their bills that funds the program.

They said that they would put the answers and some other information on the city's website...we'll see.

This was later confirmed by Commissioner Maxwell.  He said that he is only one of five votes and he needs two other Commissioners to vote with him in order for things to change.  He urged the audience to contact the other elected officials on the Commission and tell them to take off the conservation surcharge from the bills and discontinue the program if other funding can't be found.  He also said to urge them to commit to a 25% decrease in average cost of utilities for residents over the next three years.  He also said that it is important to vote for candidates that feel this way about the utility.  He suggested that the time is now to stop the milking of the utility to feed other items in the city's general fund.

I found this slide interesting regarding customer service.  Click the image to make it more legible.  Let me know what you think about these measures.
Joel Rutsky, the Conservation Services Manager, said something that has stuck with me since the presentation.  He said that Lake Worth was a beach town and asked how many had jalousie windows.  Some people raised their hands.  He said that was because people used to get the sea breeze that way until buildings were built, "progress", and now we don't have a breeze anymore due to the buildings.  I don't know about you Joel, but I am sitting in my Florida Room this morning with the door open and am enjoying a nice breeze - and I even live closer to West Palm Beach -LAND OF TALL BUILDINGS.  Also, jalousie windows were usually replacement windows for the beach cottages or part of Florida Room and porch additions.  Some of the houses built during the 50s had them as standard equipment.  It just got me to thinking, is this what paid city staff is telling people and isn't this just adding to certain myths that some like to perpetuate?