Finance Committee forwards plan to council on aggregation

Posted: Nov. 20, 2012 10:21 am Updated: Dec. 4, 2012 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy Finance Committee has forwarded a plan of operation and governance for the municipal aggregation program to the City Council.

The committee also agreed Monday night to restore some funding for the Redmon and Lee Association that was cut when the city's budget was adopted in April. The city budgeted $13,200 for the organization for fiscal 2012, but it was not distributed because the organization's center closed.

Reg Ankrom, a senior consultant for the city's electric broker Simec, said the aggregation plan is a standard agreement. It includes requirements that the supplier maintain certification from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, provide residents a call center if they have questions and allows residents to opt out of the program if they desire.

Under municipal aggregation, homeowners and small businesses would be grouped together to allow the city bid for electric supply on their behalf to lower costs. The Nov. 7 referendum was approved by 65 percent of Quincy voters.

Proponents of the referendums said electric rates could decrease as much as 35 percent, potentially saving as much as $200 a year for the average homeowner in the short term.

The committee also forwarded an agreement that would allow the mayor or his designee to sign a contract for the new price.

"The price is only good for a 24-hour period, and with as many communities that are in it, we need to grant somebody in the city the authorization to sign the document," Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks said.

Ankrom expects the city will have a new power supply agreement as soon as January. Customers would be switched over after Ameren conducts its monthly meter reading.

The city is hosting two public hearings -- 5 p.m. today and 6:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers -- for residents to comment on the plan.

The Redmon and Lee Youth and Adult Community Center reopened Sept. 24 after being shut down for more than 20 months. The organization will receive $4,400, which is prorated for the fiscal year and includes the 20 percent reduction imposed on other nonprofits.

"By doing it over a period of years, it allows groups to adjust and establish their own fundraising mechanisms to replace that lost revenues," Alderman Steve Duesterhaus, D-2, said.

Since the transfer is less than $10,000, the City Council will not have to vote on restoring the funds.

Crystal Young, executive director of the community center, said the money would be used for operational support. She said the organization is working on fundraising and also will apply for grants that could help operate the center.

Aldermen voted unanimously April 23 to reduce the funding of seven organizations by 20 percent, with the intent to eliminate all subsidies over five years.

Besides Redmon Lee, the city is providing $44,517 this year to several community organizations.