As reported by The Durango Herald on June 19, the board of the La Plata Electric Association and the Durango City Council discussed how to bring a new franchise agreement before city voters in time for the general election this November. The renewal of the franchise agreement was rejected by property owners in April.
Christina Rinderle, after the meeting, said the city had a communication problem rather than a content problem because voters did not understand what they were voting for. For the City Councils information, the property owners who voted to end the Franchise Agreement were well informed.
Did the City Council have a communication problem? Or is it the City Councils belief that voters really did not understand why they voted to end the 20-year-old franchise agreement?
Maybe 20 years ago, this was a satisfactory arrangement between the city and LPEA, but in todays world, the old agreement is out of touch with the changes and needs of city residents. It was the City Council that failed to disclose the facts of the issue, hoping the franchise agreement would pass. Why? Well, that is what politicians do, isnt it?
LPEA board members Britt Bassett and Pam Patton indicated they would support the franchise fee for the city of Durango. However, Patton further stated that the city would be creating a problem you dont want to have since a consumption-based fee would have to be figured at a higher rate to generate the same amount of revenue.
I agree with Pattons statement, with one exception. There is no such thing as a consumption fee.
When a governmental body the city of Durango receives revenue from consumption of a commodity electricity in this case it is an excise tax, not a fee. Dont forget that the city also levies another 2½ percent sales tax on top of the tax.
Finally, what gives the City Council the right to throw out the April election because it did not like the results? Why? Well, thats what politicians do, isnt it?