Mr. Deats: "...[m]y wife and I just returned from Georgia, only this time instead of coming home to a dilemma about an electric utility and the possible buying-out of the Edison franchise, we came home to a gas bill of $300 per month during which we were gone half of the time.
You should have heard what my wife had to say about that, but I couldn't repeat it at this microphone. [audience laughter]
I find this to be profoundly unacceptable.
And right now, I hearken back to when the electric utility was under consideration, [City Attorney] Mr. Shannon addressed the Bixby Highland Neighborhood Association regarding the City Charter as it applied to municipal utilities. He talked about how, in order to allay our fears about the possibility of high electric rates [from a municipally run utility] that we were protected by the City Charter from being charged more than comparative rates in surrounding communities.
And for both the convenience and the purpose of this city showing a profit from its gas utility, we've always compared ourselves to Lakewood in the past. You don't want to do that anymore; if you compared ourselves to Lakewood, you'd be running where you'd have to cover a net negative spread.
Frankly, I don't care if you had to do that. Right now, you've made it our problem. I want this to be your problem.
And you can either sell us gas at a loss if that's what's required and if you can't manage it properly, sell the utility to somebody that can.
Everything I've heard to come out of City Hall so far is profoundly insulting. It's tokenism at best.
Something as to be done, and I have heard nothing that portends a permanent, adequate solution. Level pay is just putting off to tomorrow what should have been paid today.
You've talked about nominal reductions in the utility users tax, you've talked about a nominal discount on gas rates.
This just cannot persist. Thank you." [Nearly ten seconds of applause]
Mayor O'Neill: "I might say that this is our problem and we're working very hard and I hope that in the report that we have tonight on the level pay there is some additional information that will be given to you that's going to make a difference.
So I agree with you, Mr. Deats. Thank you very much. [Calls the next speaker.]