Public Hearing for LES budget - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Public Hearing for LES budget

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By: Jenn Hatcher

Some are okay with an electrical rate increase next year but others think the LES budget needs some adjusting.

Both sides voiced opinions at Monday night's city council meeting.

$2.14 more is what LES says an average residential customer would pay in 2014, if its 2.9% rate increase in the budget, is approved.

"We do everything we can to keep these rates as low as we possibly can, however at the end of the day, there are certain cost that we are unable to offset," says Laura Kaputska with LES.

President of the Lincoln Independent Business Association, Coby Mach, says there's plenty in the budget that can be offset.

"This 2.9 rate increase is part of a larger trend...over the last ten year our rates have gone up 42%.  The ten years prior to that our increase was 8%," says Mach.

What mach wants removed from the financial plan; $2 million dollars that year after year goes towards a rate stabilization fund, better known as a rainy day fund and the $1 million more dollars going towards sustainable energy.

Many at Monday night's meeting were actually in favor of the increase, specifically the step towards more sustainable energy in Lincoln.

"We want to try to find ways to produce our energy locally so that we're able to drive new revenues into the city, one's that we think are being lost currently," says Graham Christensen, with Power Lincoln Locally.

The group, Power Lincoln Locally, showed strong numbers at the city council meeting.

A large portion of the rate increase is driven by the sustainable energy program and transmission expense.

"Within the region we have the lowest residential rate of the others," says Kaputska.

The city council will vote to approve the measure on November 18th.


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