Council revives board

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

By Staff
Will offer advice on running city’s electric department
Contributing Editor
It’s back, but with some changes.
On Tuesday, Washington’s City Council unanimously established the Washington Electric Utilities Advisory Board.
Next month, the council will appoint people to serve on the board. The city will advertise for people interested in serving on the board to submit applications.
The ordinance establishing the board calls for it to have four city residents on it, a representative from Washington Park, a representative from Bath and an at-large representative. Washington’s electric system serves customers outside the city limits, including customers in Washington Park and Bath. The city manager, or his or her designee, and a council member will serve as ex-officio members of the board. The council member will serve as a liaison between the council and board.
A similar advisory board was disbanded in May 2004. The newly established board will be somewhat different from its predecessor.
Board members will not hold voting positions nor adopt recommendations under majority-rule requirements, the ordinance reads. 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.
City Manager James C. Smith said it makes sense to revive the advisory board, in part, because Washington Electric Utilities is a “high-profile activity of the city.” Smith also said the board will have the duty of identifying and addressing “public concerns and perspectives” related to the city’s electric department.
In other business, the council instructed city staff to draft an ordinance that calls for either stop signs to be installed at each intersection on East 10th Street from Market Street to Brown Street and lower the speed limit on that section of East 10th Street from 35 mph to 25 mph. The council is expected to considering approving that ordinance at its next meeting.
The move comes about a month after residents on East 10th Street or in that area signed a petition asking the city to do something to slow down speeding drivers and prevent motorists from using East 10th Street as a cut-through. City officials ruled out placing speed bumps on the street.
Police Chief Mick Reed said data concerning traffic on the street indicates there’s no speeding problem, but Mickey Cochran, spokesman for the residents, did not agree with Reed’s presentation to the council.
Councilman Mickey Gahagan recommended the city install the stop signs and lower the speed limit on East 10th Street, then evaluate the effects those measures have on traffic to determine if the city needs to do anything more to deter speeding and use of the street as a cut-through. After Gahagan put his suggestion in the form of a motion, it was seconded by Councilman Richard Brooks. The motion passed unanimously.
For more coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.