September 3rd Workshop Brought up New Concerns
By Kendall Boggs, Times Staff Writer
On Wednesday September 3, Mayor Wise and the panel of City Commissioners held an information gathering utilities workshop with Mr. Bill Herrington, a utilities specialist consultant from W.H.H. Enterprises. The purpose of this meeting was to evaluate the gas and water utilities currently provided by the City of Marianna, and to discuss the possibility of changing to a city owned electric utility when the existing franchise agreement with Florida Public Utilities expires in February 2010.
Bill Herrington from WHH Enterprises came, for free, to the workshop in order to explain Marianna’s current situation concerning the amount of money the city and its citizens are paying for natural gas and to discuss the city’s current electric provider.
Mr. Herrington brought to the meeting the results of a "Natural Gas Rates" study the city had asked he and WHH Enterprises to conduct to see how much of the cities revenues were spent on natural gas and how Marianna could gain a better, more stable profit for natural gas services. The study revealed that Marianna had too much natural gas that was unaccounted for meaning that either gas was being leaked, the meters were wrong, or some calculating mistake was made somewhere along the way.
It was brought to the attention of the attending members of the meeting that several of the cities meters were out of date and that they were being replaced or updated. Herrington suggested that Marianna implement a monthly customer service charge in order for the revenue received by the city for natural gas to be more on par with the rest of Florida. He showed that Marianna’s yearly leakage loss was around $100,000 dollars and proposed the city officials have a five year correction plan.
To conclude the meeting, officials decided to bring Gas Rate Structure Resolutions to the October City Commission meeting, in order to continue to resolve the issue of the natural gas leakage losses.
WHH Enterprises was commissioned to conduct a $2000 study which will compare the cost of natural gas in Marianna to several similar city gas utility operations, and to make specific recommendations to the city as to what changes are needed and justified. This study will be completed and presented to the Board within the next sixty days.
In regards to the electric utility franchise renewal, it was made extremely clear that the workshop was set up for the sole purpose of WHH Enterprises informing Marianna officials about the findings their survey had come up with and that in no way was a decision about this matter going to be made within the near future. Further analysis on the electrical utility options for the city will be conducted in the coming weeks.