Trenton Mayor Nick McHargue calls for 10% reduction in electric rates

City of Trenton Website

Trenton Mayor Nick McHargue, citing what he called a huge surplus, requested Trenton Municipal Utilities reduce electric rates by ten percent effective with the next bills. Then re-visit the rate issue in two months and consider another possible reduction.

After further discussion, the issue involving electric rates, including the Mayor’s request, is to be considered when the Council’s utility committee meets next week on September 18th.

Mayor McHargue cited figures that he said showed the TMU electric department has $3,500,000 in unrestricted, or reserve funds. A ten percent reduction, officials were told, would be approximately $900,000. Comptroller Rosetta Marsh said there are five months operating expenses in reserve for the electric department.

While consenting to the city councils’ motion to refer electric rates to the utility committee, Mayor McHargue stated “these eight people”, meaning the city council, can adjust electric rates every month.

The mayor also described unrestricted balances in other departments such as, he said, $2,200,000 in the water fund and $3,000,000 in the wastewater fund. Mrs. Marsh explained those two funds must have enough money to cover bonded indebtedness. She explained that’s why a rate analysis showed the need to increase those rates. However, a rate study has not been done recently in the electric department.

Six members of the council last night voted to refer the electric rates issue to the utility committee composed of chairmen from three other city committees.

Micah Landes requested and the city council approved, a letter of support on behalf of the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association which is planning to submit an application to become an affiliate of the Main Street Program. The letter is to be signed by the mayor and one member of the council.

Mrs. Landes noted once accepted, Trenton would be eligible for a two-year grant on a 60/40 basis to support improvements in the downtown area. She’s a former director of Main Street Chillicothe which she described as having much success with building improvements & occupancy. Mrs. Landes reported the TDIA bought a vacant building at 905 Main and intends to bring it up to code to make it what she called rentable.

Danny Stevens discussed with the Mayor and city council the council’s decision two weeks ago to reject his offer of $300  a month to rent the south, or former PSF, hangar at the Trenton airport. His was the only proposal to rent the facility after it was advertised locally. Stevens wanted to store his plane and use an office for bookkeeping involving his businesses. Previously, an aircraft mechanic had offered $200 a month in rent but that proposal was rejected by the council. The council in late August asked for another request for proposals. Mayor McHargue asked Urton to get that request into the media, effective today.

The council adopted an ordinance to have DR Petroleum of Chillicothe install above and below ground fuel lines at the TMU north substation. The cost tops $49,785.

The city council accepted a bid from Asplundh for tree trimming services. The cost for a two-man crew is $114.63 per hour. A bid of $7,887 was accepted from Foster for a boiler expansion tank to be installed at the water treatment plant.

The council rejected a bid from the Wilson Group on 12 window replacements at the fire station. Their bid topping $22,000 was much higher than the $6,500 budget. The request for window replacements will be re-advertised.

Approval was given to amending city ordinance on private swimming pools. Basically, it states barrier requirements for swimming pools, open tanks, hot tubs and spas containing water more than 24-inches in depth must be surrounded by a fence or barrier at least 48-inches in height.

Mayor McHargue appointed, with council consent, John McCullough to the Trenton Historic Preservation Board. And because the board requires a representative from Trentons’ Planning and Zoning Commission, the mayor appointed, and the council approved, Tom Stickler to also serve on the historic preservation board.

Six council members attended last nights’ one hour meeting. Absent were Travis Elbert and Larry Crawford.