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Electric utilities advisory board may get recharged

By By MIKE VOSS,Contributing Editor
During its meeting Tuesday, Washington’s City Council will consider adopting an ordinance that establishes an electric utilities advisory board.
During its Oct. 29 meeting, the council discussed creating the board to help provide proper management of the city’s electric system. At that meeting, Councilman Ed Gibson asked his fellow council members to consider reforming the advisory panel.
The proposed ordinance calls for a seven-member advisory board. It also includes the city manager or the city manager’s designee and provides for a liaison to be appointed from the City Council, according to a memorandum from City Manager James C. Smith to the mayor and council. Those two people will serve as ex-officio members of the board.
A similar advisory board was disbanded in May 2004.
The proposed ordinance calls for the board’s members to include four city residents, a resident from Bath, a resident from Washington Park and another person from anywhere in the electric system’s service area.
Board members will not hold voting positions nor adopt recommendations under majority-rule requirements, the proposed ordinance notes. The board will not have authority to set electric rates. The board will be required to meet quarterly during any given year, with the option to meet more often if needed.
According to the proposed ordinance, the board’s recommendations will be nonbinding on the City Council or the electric department’s staff. The board’s recommendations “shall be documented and forwarded to the City Council” for review and consideration, the ordinance reads.
The council also will consider whether to adopt a five-year cycle of improvement projects for Warren Field Airport, which the city owns.
If approved, the plan for 2009-2013 will be submitted to the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation. The plan addresses improvements needed to meet DOA’s minimum standards. Such plans are used by DOT to allocate state funds to airports and federal funds DOA receives for airport projects in the state.
The proposed plan calls for spending up to $7.72 million during the five-year period.
The council meets at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
Details of the proposed airport projects will be published in future editions of the Daily News.