Letter on Rockton’s big utilities vote tonight (Feb. 1)
Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to The Rock River Times, and the Rockton Village Board of Trustees will supposedly vote on the issue tonight, Monday, Feb. 1. Many are concerned that area residents are not aware of this vote tonight, and that Rockton Trustees have not fully considered the matter before the vote. A procedural matter of when this issue can be brought to a vote has also come into question, as has the board’s power to assume such a role without home rule.
Feb. 1, 2010
Dear Village of Rockton Trustees:
The intent of the Village and the Village attorneys to take over the Rock Energy CoOp’s distribution of electricity and gas deserves careful consideration on your part to make sure who will benefit and at what cost to the Village.
Please carefully consider the following facts and questions before you agree to put the Village into huge debt:
1. The referendum never did reference ownership by the Rock Energy CoOp when it was passed and the fact that it was poorly worded was confusing to the residents of Rockton.
2. The fact sheets distributed before the referendum listed a cost many thousands below what actually appeared on the ballot. Why?
3. How is it possible that a small village can possibly contract for gas or electricity at a lower cost than a large CoOp?
4. By statute, bonds issued for the purchase of a utility must be repaid through charges for the gas or electricity supplied. This being the case, how can Village President Adams say he can supply these services at lower cost when he first has to purchase gas or electricity and then add on the interest charges?
5. Those people currently being served by the CoOp own it and receive rebates from it. Why buy something you already own?
6. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent by the Village on studies and legal fees. The CoOp also has spent considerable money defending their position. Guess who pays for both sides of this argument. YOU DO!
7. Both electric and gas service would be capped off or disconnected if this transfer is allowed to proceed. The Shaw substation will remain a part of Rock Energy. How and where will the Village replace this substation and from whom are they going to purchase the gas and electricity?
8. On several occasions, I requested to see a cost/benefit analysis for this project and was told by the Village that it was in litigation and therefore couldn’t be supplied. In the Register Star, they quoted Trustee Fridly as saying that none had been done because the CoOp refused to supply necessary information. The Village Attorneys were not truthful, an analysis didn’t exist.
9. When a presentation was made to Rockton Township regarding this project, a question was asked whether people outside the Village limits but within the service area, would be charged at the same rates as those within the Village. No one would commit to having the same charges.
10. It is my understanding that several people who had no vote on this acquisition have contacted the Citizens Utility Board for advice on how to begin a lawsuit against this takeover by the Village. CUB will not get involved other than to recommend attorneys knowledgeable in this area of expertise.
11. Many figures for this purchase have been bandied about by the Village. I have heard 11 million, 13 million, and 23 million. Why then a referendum put on the ballot for 48 million dollars?
12. The Mayor has indicated that the Village is in good financial shape but somehow ignores all of the bonds the Village has. These too, are debt that must be repaid. Is the 48 million dollar debt approved by the referendum to be used like a Ponzi scheme to repay these other debts?
13. Mayor Adams has publicly stated that they have proven that they can run a distribution system. He has furnished no cost analysis and has proved nothing! The Village has contracted out the operation of the swimming pool, the sewer plant and can’t even see that the trees on Main Street get watered. Past performance on simple items as mentioned leave considerable doubt that he can run a gas and electric distribution system.
14. The Village attorneys appear to the big winners in this takeover attempt.
Elected officials have a responsibility to do their own due-diligence studies on major issues such as this project. We were elected to represent the wishes of the people and the people deserve to know that you have all of the facts before you make these huge financial commitments they would be paying for, for many years to come.
I have had several face to face meetings with Rock Energy CEO, Shane Larson, in order to better understand the issues. I would recommend that you contact him at 866-752-4550 and set up individual meetings to hear his side of these issues.
Dean G. Mohring
Rockton Township Trustee
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