By Susan de Castro McCann
Redstone Review Editor
LYONS – The Town of Lyons sent out letter to all the electric customers telling them in a rather elaborate fashion that electric rates were going to go up. This might have been a surprise for some, but not many. Everything is going up for the simple reason that it costs more to make things and that includes energy.
The Board of Trustees, BOT, said that they wanted people to know that they were raising the rates because they had to; they could not absorb the rising cost of producing electricity.
Under the new plan, which the BOT approved, the rates will go up in the summer with heavier use and down in the winter with lighter use. The new rates go into effect on March 1.
Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen said she met with Andrew Ross, the town’s representative from Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, MEAN, the town’s energy provider. Last year the town operated at a $307,000 deficit for 2012 projected (all the numbers are not in yet). “We wanted to know if the raises in rates would bring in the revenues promised and it results in (about) a 14 percent increase rather than a 15 percent increase suggested by Ross,” said Simonsen. Residential customers will pay on average about an $8.50 increase in rates. Plus they adopted seasonal rates so customers pay more in the summer.
This shortfall will not be made up in a year or even two years, so more rate increases are coming down the pike.
The town of Lyons raised electric rates in 2008, but the wholesale price of electricity has risen by 35 percent since 2008 and the town rates were not able to keep up with the rising wholesale price. The increase in summer rates will not necessarily encourage people to use less electricity. Because of the extremely hot dry climate, getting hotter and dryer, more and more electricity will be used by necessity.
For more information about the rate increase, please visit http://www.townoflyons.com/ or call Jeremy Matsen at Lyons Town Hall, at 303-823-6622, ext. 28.
The town also said goodbye to Sgt. Kevin Parker from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department, who moved to the Drug Task Force unit in Boulder. The town welcomed the new Lyons Substation Supervisor Nick Goldberg. The town hosted a party for Parker and Goldberg on Feb. 1 at the town hall.
The Lyons Town Board passes an ordinance to amend the zoning regulations of the municipal code to create a site-plan review process. The new ordinance now has a three-tiered process which includes: the first level, a minor building permit; a second level, a site plan review; and a third level, a development plan review, which is the most advanced or scrutinized level. The minor building permit would include minor changes to a building such as a new roof, unless the roof changes in pitch or design which would move it to the second level. The only review for the minor building permit would be to see if it complied with the current building code. If the permit goes outside the purview of the current building code it falls under the site plan review. The difference between site plan review and development plan review is the size and scope of the project.
The BOT recently passed a temporary moratorium on the sale, manufacture, growth and production of marijuana a few months ago. They decided upon advice of town attorney Tim Cox to add an amendment to the moratorium for any recreational uses including smoking clubs and hookah bars and clubs that don’t charge. The moratorium goes through July.
The town also approved an ordinance on first reading to amend the municipal code to allow residential and non-residential customer-owned generation of electricity, called net metering. Customers who generate energy through solar panels or other alternative energy structures would be allowed to sell electricity back to the grid under this new plan, according to Simonsen. Staff plans to do more research on rates.
Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen told the BOT that the town staff has added a new interim finance director, Betty Simpson, who is retired, but was the assistant finance director for Longmont. She will be working for the board for two to three days a week. “We have received a number of qualified applicants and I hope to have a new finance director in place by mid to late February,” said Simonsen.Back to Top