Mixed Reviews On Ratepayers' Bailout Of Clinton Nuclear Plant


    The Illinois General Assembly finished the fall veto session on Dec. 1 with lawmakers passing a major energy bill in which Exelon agreed to keep the Clinton and Cordova nuclear power plants open in exchange for $235 million in ratepayer-funded subsidies. 
    The good news is for the jobs which, at least temporarily, have been saved and I certainly don’t blame a community like Clinton for celebrating because of the devastating impact closing that plant would have on its residents and tax revenue.
    Republicans Sen. Chapin Rose and Rep. Bill Mitchell represent Clinton in their districts, so it is understandable why they had no problem approving the bill.
    U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) also liked the legislation: “I commend Governor Rauner and state legislators, including Chapin Rose and Bill Mitchell, for working together to pass an energy bill that will help keep DeWitt County’s largest employer open for business. 
    “Clinton Power Station is responsible for thousands of good-paying jobs and economic benefits that will stay in this community because of this legislation. This gives us ten years to develop better policies to ensure base load power stations, like Clinton, remain an integral part of our energy grid.”
    Davis and other members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation sent a letter in May urging state action.

  
 • THERE IS also a not-so-good ripple impact for this legislation. State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-O’Fallon) disagrees with Rose, Mitchell and Davis on its merits.
    McCarter says Senate Bill 2814 is nothing more than a ratepayer bailout for a very profitable company and the measure provides $8 billion in subsidies, which he calls bailout money.
     "The money has to come from somewhere," McCarter said. "This is a bailout for a very profitable company. $2 billion in profit last year. Their CEOs earned $31 million, but apparently just five percent of the profits wasn't enough to save their own facilities."
     Under SB2814, Exelon will receive subsidies totaling $235 million a year for up to 10 years. There are also financial incentives for energy efficiency and so-called "green" energy such as solar and wind power that include utility companies, Com-Ed and Ameren. 
     McCarter said the money for the subsidies and incentives will come from ratepayers.
      Exelon claims that without the financial assistance they would be forced to close their nuclear power plants in Clinton and Cordova, Illinois with a loss of hundreds of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars paid out in local property taxes, but Sen. McCarter said job losses will occur under the bailout plan as electricity rates rise and drive away business and industry.
     "There are estimates that job losses statewide could be as high as 44,000. You won't see them as a headline in the news happening all at once. It'll be 25 here; 50 here," said McCarter. "Large users of power such as ADM, Tate and Lyle, their number two cost for goods sold is energy."
  
  
 • IT WAS GREAT to speak at the Breakfast Sertoma Club breakfast meeting Friday morning.  What a great group of people and I also appreciated the invitation to go out to Scovill Banquet Center and have breakfast with them any Friday morning.  (After you read my “Viewpoint” at left you might feel I should immediately accept their invitation.)
    I always feel at home when I speak to our service clubs, not only because I’ve known for years many of the people I see there, but because of their work and commitment to our community in a variety of ways.  I appreciate who and what they are -- including their values.
    I always enjoy promoting our community and, of course, this newspaper.      

  
 • WITH THE City of Decatur filings completed, the Townships were scheduled to hold their caucus meetings yesterday, Dec. 6th with the City of Macon, and the Village of Warrensburg holding their municipal caucus meetings on Dec. 5th. Multi-Township Caucus for assessor will be today  (Dec. 7th).
    Filing dates for all candidates will be Dec. 12-19 with the various local election officials except for school board members and multi-township assessors who file with the Macon County Clerk’s Office, 141 S. Main St., Room 104, Decatur.
    The following positions will be open for filing for school board:
    • Argenta- Oreana  will have 3 full  term seats and 3 unexpired 2 year term seats
    • Meridian will have 3 full term seats
    • Decatur will have 4 full term seats
    • Mt Zion will have 3 full term seats and 1 unexpired 2 year term seat
    • Warrensburg Latham will have 3 full term seats
    • Maroa Forsyth will have 3 full term seats
    • Sangamon Valley will have 4 full term seats
    School Board and Multi-Township Assessor candidates can begin filing at 8 AM on Dec. 12th.
    Macon County Clerk’s hours are: Dec. 12th 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Dec. 13-16 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Dec. 19th is last day to file and the office will be open from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.
    If more than one candidate for a position files at 8 AM, a lottery will be held for who will be listed first on the ballot and other ballot placements.
    If more than one candidate files for a position during the final hour on Dec. 19th from 4-5 PM, a lottery will be held for the final spot on the ballot and other  ballot placements.
    For questions concerning the upcoming April 4th Consolidated Election, call Steve Bean at 424-1305.

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY or visit our website at decaturtribune.net and find us on Facebook.


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City ​Council Approves Sewer Rate Increase To Fund Required Improvements

DECATUR – Many residents who experience basement backups and overflow problems, long a problem for some in the community due to the condition of local sanitary sewer system, will receive some much-needed relief from the problem in the coming months and years.

The Decatur City Council on Monday approved a multi-year sanitary sewer rate increase to assist in covering the cost of an estimated $70 million in known problems and deferred maintenance to fix the critical sanitary sewer related issues facing the community today. Part of the work has been mandated to be done by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency by December 31, 2018 with the balance of the work known to be needed both to address identified issues and avoid further federal regulation.

The approved increases are for the sanitary sewer rate portion of local utility bills and amount to 15 cents in 2017 and 2018, 9 cents in 2019-2021 and 2.5% in 2022 and 2023 for every 100 cubic feet of water usage. The average water customer currently pays about $6.58 cents per month in sanitary sewer usage charges.

As part of the work plan the city will:

  Increase sewer cleaning and de-rooting

  Increase Sewer Engineering

  Reduce Basement Backups

  Eliminate Inflow Connections

  Provide Flow Monitoring to determine system capacity

Council members on Monday also approved the city’s property tax levy for the next year at a level expected to result in a tax rate that is about the same as this year, pending community assessment. 



Avon Theatre Celebrates

100th Birthday 







​The Avon Theatre at 425 North Water Street in downtown Decatur is celebrating its 100th birthday this week ... and is not looking its age.  Check out this week's print edition of the Decatur Tribune where we take a look at the Avon’s long history and how it was brought back to life in 1999.  


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PAUL OSBORNE, EDITOR 


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