Selmer board reduces natural gas prices

Jeff Whitten

The Selmer Board of Aldermen voted to reduce natural gas prices 10 percent to city gas customers at its June 14 meeting.

This reduction will begin with July 2011 bill.

This is the second reduction in the past three years, according to Selmer Public Works Director Richard Ashe.

Ashe attributes the rate decreases to several factors. 

One is that the Selmer Utilities Division (SUD) buys its gas in the summer and stores it for winter use.

Another is that Selmer is a member of the Tennessee Energy Acquisition Cooperative (TEAC). 

This cooperative purchases in large volumes, resulting in lower prices.

It made a $1 billion purchase two or three years ago.

This group includes Henderson, Bolivar and Savannah. Memphis Light, Gas and Water buys some of its natural gas from TEAC.

Selmer Mayor David Robinson is on the board of TEAC.

Another factor cited by Ashe is that costs of operations have not gone up much for SUD.

The department does not owe much money and has only three full-time employees, according to Ashe.

On another matter, Robinson announced that Ab Chambers had donated a lot on Purdy Road near the Dixie Property. The board voted formally to accept the property later in the meeting.

“Ab Chambers has graciously donated the lot out on Purdy Road that joins the Dixie property that we purchased a couple of months ago. He donated that to the city. So, that just kind of enlarges our area. That’s very, very generous of him. We want to extend our gratitude and thanks very much,” Robinson said.

The city plans to make the Dixie property into a park.

The board passed the budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1 on second reading. The budget projects total expenditures of $8,937,305, revenues of $10,976,491 and a property tax rate of $0.806 per $100 value.

In other actions the board:

*approved Williams and Jerrolds as auditors for 2011-2012. They have fulfilled this role since 2006, according to  Robinson. “They’ve done us a great job,” he said. Alderman John Smith was the lone no vote, with Vice-Mayor Paul Simpson and Aldermen Edward Smith, John Finlayson and Lloyd Tennyson voting in the affirmative.

*appointed Adamsville attorney Ken Seaton City Judge Pro Tem until such time as current Town Judge Bill Webb, who is hospitalized, can resume his duties. If he cannot, the board will appoint a permanent judge.

*authorized the Mayor to negotiate alternatives for local planning services. The board would have to approve any agreement reached. This board had to deal with this issue because the state has eliminated the local planning office, Robinson said. Two possible alternatives are the Southwest Tennessee Development District and Chris Pate of Oakland, Tenn.

*approved Outdoors Unlimited for right-of-way maintenance for fiscal year 2012 and 2013.

*approved a parade permit for the Parks and Recreation July 4th Freedom Festival.

*Scheduled hearings for dismissed police officers Chris Reynolds and Stanley Smith on June 27 at 6 p.m.