Did You Catch This?

At the Memphis City Council meeting this week the headline was that they OK’d Crosstown funding. Secondarily, they delayed any vote on the Autozone Ball Park.

They displayed concern that facts had been kept from them on both these issues. Maybe they should have demanded more info up front, eh?

However, many of them don’t seem to care what they know, as in the MLGW deal for smart meters. Perhaps in some cases it is better for them that they not know? You have to wonder.

Then there was this, which didn’t get a lot of attention. Bill Dries did not miss it and reported in the Memphis Daily News:

Part of the $15 million in the city piece (for Crosstown funding) would be $500,000 from Memphis Light Gas and Water Division’s fund in the transition in which it will handle street lighting obligations that until now the city of Memphis had provided.

MLGW president Jerry Collins said that was the first he’d heard about it. That’s odd. This has surfaced before as you can see from my August 22, 2013 story:

Now they are going to charge us for street lighting. It was supposed to come before the City Council Tuesday; don’t know what happened to it, but it is bound to get their OK since the city transferred all this maintenance to MLGW. The $6 million used to be paid by your tax money. Not that your taxes will go down. This fee will just be transferred. You’ll be paying more January 2014 for the same service you already have.

Did you have a say in it? No. Residents rarely have a say in their own city anymore. What can an individual do about it? We all need street light and we can’t refuse to pay for it. The fees amount to:

Residential Apartment Charge: $1.08/month
Residential Non-Apartment Charge: $4.32
Small Commercial: $6.48
Large Commercial: $19.07

That translates to $12.96 a year for apartment dwellers, $51.84 for home owners, $77.76 for small businesses and $228.84 for larger ones. We’re not talking a small amount of money.

I walked down my street to count the homes and lights. There are 7 light posts, 38 homes and two apartment buildings. Say the two apartments have 6 residents each. The money that would be generated from this each year comes out to $2,047.38. Multiply that by every street in the city and you’ve got a chunk of dough.
It’s money that will flow to MLGW for as long as we need lights, that is to say forever.

How much do they cost to operate a year? Many of them have stood there for decades, so they don’t need frequent replacement. How often do they need fixing? Maybe once in 5 years? Probably that is a low estimate. We aren’t privy to that information. MLGW also determines when they come on and go off. We don’t.

Once again, we are kept in the dark on how MLGW and the city operate. Freedom and democracy? You can forget about it.

Head of MLGW Collins didn’t know about it?

Here we go again. We are getting squeezed. There’s a pattern here. Some organ of the city decides we need X. They go about planning for it. They have no funding for it. They initiate it anyhow. Funding comes up short and the taxpayer is hit. We don’t have a say in it from the beginning, but they still stick their hands in our wallets.

When is someone going to do an expose on our officials and non elected officials like Robert Lipscomb who run the city without our consent? Don’t look to the newspaper to do it or the TV stations. They are too busy reporting on their canned food collecting and holiday singing events to do any investigating. Oh, they will tell you whether a microwave onion cooker works; just don’t ask how and whether your local government does.

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