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Councilman Carroll Says Suit Seeking LB Consumer Rebates For Natural Gas Bills Is Intended To Bankrupt City, Then Votes To Raise City Mgr. Pay to Nearly $200,000

We provide pertinent transcript excerpt

(November 21, 2001) -- Shortly before voting to raise City Manager Henry Taboada's pay to nearly $200,000 annually, 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll launched an attack on a class action suit filed by LB Citizens for Utility Reform seeking LB consumer rebates over disproportionately high natural gas bills from the City Hall run utility earlier this year.

We provide extended transcript excerpts of Councilman Carroll's remarks at the November 20, 2001 Council meeting below:

...I think it's important for our citizens to know, and to feel comfortable with, the financial solvency that we enjoy now. This again, in my mind, comes to us largely because of the budgeting processes that we have undergone.

And when the gas crisis was visited upon us, and in my view largely based upon circumstances beyond our control, although there is some argument we could have anticipated this event which simply had not occurred in 20 or 25 years. But we find ourselves with the financial resources not only to address the monthly cost which has been substantial for our city, but those anticipated expenses that may occur if further terrorist acts are visited on our city, our airport or our part.

[The state is] facing a $12 billion deficit, largely it seems based upon the state's handling of their energy crisis, that attempt to subsidize those rates for an extended period of time, and they are now in a position where something has to give. Now whether it's the safety of our citizens, or begin bleeding the city for more money, not only our city but all the cities.

But they have found themselves in a fix that we because of the planning of our city manager avoided. Now while the circumstances aren't exactly parallel, I think that it merits our acknowledgement of our situation and again I think Henry Taboada is to be acknowledged and commended for that.

And parenthetically, I think it's time for those persons who have brought this lawsuit, the gas rate lawsuit against us, to revisit the propriety of that suit. That suit is designed simply to bankrupt this city.

And if we had done that, I think we'd be in terrible shape right now. If they were to prevail, and I don't think that they will, our ability to provide safety for our citizens will be fatally compromised.

So I invite them at this time to take another look at that lawsuit, and from my perspective, I think they ought to dismiss that lawsuit. It is untimely. It was, for whatever political reasons it might have been filed, that time has passed, and it's time for our citizens to come together, not to continue this divisive and expensive lawsuit.

So Henry, I want to thank you for your work. I think you have done a good job. I think this [pay raise] resolution acknowledges that and the City Council should and would support it.

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