Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Electric rate hike expected


Lebanon chief on hot seat

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City Council tonight will make the final decision on increasing electric rates and will discuss whether to fire the city manager.

        Lebanon recently renegotiated its contract with Cinergy, forcing the city's first increase in electric bills in 18 years, officials say. If approved by council tonight, rates will rise 20 percent beginning June 1.

        The average family's cost, for 1,000 kilowatts a month, would increase from $61.30 to $73.56, according to electric director Dave Clark. That's still less than the $80.89 average for Cinergy customers elsewhere in the Tristate, Mr. Clark said.

        Lebanon's ordinance would raise electric rates an additional 2 percent in January, and then 1 percent each year after that.

        The electric rate increase appears inevitable, as the city already has signed the contract with Cinergy.

        The firing of the city manager, on the other hand, appears unlikely. Only two council members — James Reinhard and Amy Brewer — have taken stands against James Patrick.

        Councilman Ben Cole said he is withholding judgment on allegations that Mr. Patrick changed an employee's time sheet and incorrectly told council that engineering work on an electric department project had not started.

        Council also needs to consider the financial implications of not honoring Mr. Patrick's contract, Mr. Cole said.

        “It will cost a small fortune for this city to fire him,” he said.

        Also on the agenda:

        • The second reading on a contract from GPD Associates, the Akron company that has been doing engineering work for the city, allegedly without Mr. Patrick's knowledge.

        • The first reading on beginning renovations on two houses owned by City Council — one on North Broadway at the entrance to Colonial Park and the other at 5-7 S. Cherry.

        • The first reading on accepting Quantum Metals as a tenant for the city's new industrial park.

        • A resolution to hire a designer for a city Web site.

IF YOU GO
       

        • What: Lebanon City Council meeting • When: 7:30 tonight Where: 50 S. Broadway, City Hall

       



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