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To The Editor and Traer Residents:

January 28, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper

What this election is really about: Traer's Future

While Alliant uses a retired executive to write personal attacks against me, I will stay on the high road. This election is not about whether you like TMU. It is not about rates and safety. It is not about 50 years (Alliant) or 100 years (TMU) of service to Traer.

This election is about the financial future and stability of Traer. They can talk about the IUB all day long, but the fact is that YOUR gas bill is not going to be significantly different with a local utility. Over the entire state of Iowa, municipal gas utilities charge an average of 5-10% less for residential and commercial service than Alliant, not much of a difference. No one knows if Traer's rates will be a little lower or higher, but the truth is there won't be much of a difference to you either way. Municipal utilities have a proven safety record just as good, if not better, than Alliant.

One of the aspects of my job is that I go to virtually every City Council and TMU Board meeting. I have been to more meetings over the last 10 years than anyone else in town. While I may not agree with some of the decisions made, I can tell you that all of the Council and Board members over those years care about Traer, and do their best to keep this town running. None of them like raising taxes or rates, but when it needs to be done, they do it. None of the council or board have ever tried to hide anything from the public, or lied about what is going on. The meetings are open to the public, and the minutes are published for those who can't come. Read the minutes, not the headline in the paper.

Times are tough for small town finances, and they are getting tougher. We don't need MORE Des Moines control in Traer, WE NEED LESS. Des Moines has done nothing but take revenue sources away from the city the last ten years, forcing higher property taxes, so they don't have to raise your income tax. Do we need three IUB members telling the school how to run? Do we want them taking over the decisions of our City Council? NO, we don't need them. Our council and board are governed by their own conscience and a love of the city they live in. Local control is the only way you see the financial rewards of doing business. I have nothing against Alliant's service to Traer. That's not the point. We don't owe them any more time, they have made plenty of profit here, let's start keeping it in town. No one can honestly argue that a town doesn't benefit financially from a municipal utility, it is the nature of the beast. Corporate utilities exist to make a profit for shareholders, municipals exist to provide a service to the town. That is why the state gives local control to school boards, city councils and municipal utilities, because it is best for the town.

I would like to make a couple comments on the numbers in Mr. Schmidt's letter. The energy efficiency programs he refers to are mandated by the state for "Investor Owned" Gas Utilities. The money comes from the ratepayers, not Alliant's shareholders, and Traer residents have paid in over twice as much through their gas bills than has been returned. TMU has stated their rebate program would be at least as beneficial as Alliant's. Per review of the Tama County Treasurer's website, Alliant's current property tax bill is less than $16,000 (NOT $400,000) and it all goes to Tama/Toledo-not a penny comes to Traer or North Tama Schools. The employees of TMU pay over $23,000 in property taxes, and most of that stays right here in Traer. And as for that $6,000 contributed to Traer the last few years; for a corporation that takes over $1 million per year in revenue out of Traer, I think that proves my point.

Traer Residents, please think about the FUTURE of Traer, not the past. Think about those of us who have dedicated our lives to working so that all of you have lights, water, sewer, clean streets, personal customer service, and a safe comfortable town to live in. The Chamber and downtown businesses are always asking you to "SHOP LOCAL". This is the ultimate opportunity to do just that. VOTE NO to Alliant, and show support for your neighbors, we're right here when you need us. Isn't that what small towns are supposed to be all about?

Jon Panfil

206 6th Street

Traer, IA 50675

478-8771

 
 

 

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