Thursday, June 27th, 2013 at 10:18am

Commissioner Knowles Tries to Justify 5% Electrical Rate Increase

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At the center of last year’s debate on the City of Leesburg’s budget was Commissioner David Knowles who supported the 1% increase in electrical rates.  After last week’s The Right Side of the Lake we wanted to get the perspective of a Commissioner who was solidly in support of last year’s increase.  Commissioner Knowles answered our questions in an effort to justify this year’s 5% electrical rate increase.

Q:  Is it now fair to say the “smart grid” idea was a failure and waste of money?

Commissioner Knowles Two commercial customers have profited by using “peak day usage reductions”. Residents could also profit if they reduce during a peak. How customers use smart grid and smart grid information is yet to be seen.

Q:  If you had it to do over would you have voted against it?

Commissioner KnowlesAny time I vote I have to think of what it could mean in the future. Everything we own will have to be used smarter in the future.

Q: Last October, you voted for a 1% increase in electrical rates angering many Leesburg citizens.  Now, there is word that because of the high costs associated with the smart grid system, electrical rates may to go up 5%.  Do you believe the previous city manager and people in the budget office misled the Commission 8 months ago on the severity of the electrical rate issue?

Commissioner Knowles When we did our projections in 2007 we forecast an increase of 3% per year.  For good reasons or bad we have not done what we projected. I am glad we were able to lower our position on the state wide municipal score on rates, but if we don’t do something our Electric Department has a big problem    To catch up we are now needing to go up 5%.

Leesburg’s utility rates is going to be the main topic in this year’s budget as property tax increases are basically out of the question in a city and market with declining revenues.  Like many other taxing jurisdictions in Lake County, the City of Leesburg overspent in good times on things like libraries, police stations and smart grid systems which are now pinching their operation budgets.  As the public budget workshops begin, Leesburg residents will need to get involved to ensure that the city is aggressively cutting budgets to minimize the utility rate increase.

We find it troubling that Commissioner Knowles and his fellow Commissioners in 2007 approved an electrical system which required a 3% increase each year–that seems very excessive to us.  So, are we to expect Leesburg electrical rates to increase 30% over the next ten years?  If so, there will be thousands of people sitting in the dark.

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7 Responses to “Commissioner Knowles Tries to Justify 5% Electrical Rate Increase”

  1. Just look around to all of these city managers. Every last one of them has achieved a status of almost sainthood. And, they give these people unbelievable totalitarian powers to contract for services; with employees and hire chiefs of police with all kinds of benefits and such. All the while the numbnutz on the councils or boards or whatever they call themselves are convinced by the city attorney’s this is the way to go to insulate them from liability and such.
    Most of them come from God only knows where and they are recommended by some secret organization called “The Rangers” or something which is a union like organization of, you guessed it a bunch of old retired city managers.
    Look at the one that Fruitie Park had, Ralph Bowers. He was run off from two other places before he got here. One of the places for doing the same thing he done here. In Frostproof he was run off something to do with a chief he hired, one of his buddies, a former Iranian hostage; who ultimately wound up being a convicted felon or he would have been the Fruitie Park Chief of police for sure. No matter what he could not have been any more Fruittie that the present Fruitie Park Chief with his on duty, in uniform politicking and his going around ordering people with what he perceives as influence over publications to stop telling the truth. If that is not a Nazi like tactic when in the hell do you call it?
    Wayne Saunders, the former Clermont city manager was the “chief cook and bottle washer of Clermont for over thirty years. He is probably still drawing checks thanks to his sweet deal that made it look like he was leaving when in fact he was remaining on the payroll as an advisor to the current city manager. The one he had trained. The one that they moved up to assistant county manager working for an interim county manager; then slipped him right in as county manager. All the while acting interim county manager (county attorney) Sanford Minkoff had busy covering up a huge bunch of stuff since they had all got together and threw former county manager Cindy hall under the bus. Then he jumped ship and went back to Clermont to help them keep piling more sand on those bones that keep surfacing on that old Poole property the city owns now.
    Old city and county managers never die; they just keep recycling them within their government connections. Like one of those old bar games of cowboys and Indians where you knocked down one injun and another one would pop up in their place.
    And did everyone see the Tavares city manager when he was out and about begging for $750,000. to finish building that downtown menagerie that is the brainchild of former Lake County manager Bill Neron? If that Tavares city manager was an employee of yours at a private business enterprise wouldn’t you feel compelled to make him take a reasonable suspicion drug test? Just look at his eyes and look at his movements. Something is bad wrong here. But then again in order to control people they have to put them in the condition to be controlled.
    Yet “every last one of them has achieved a status of almost sainthood.”
    People sit right there and see them piling more and more debt on these cities. Yet the people can so no wrong in all of this. Look at the fit Jimmy Conner pitched over thinking they were going to lose a measly $4 hundred-thousand dollars.
    There is no end to their wants! If someone dare refuse something they want, they just keep on coming back over and over until they get their wants.
    The people see them supporting all kinds of ridiculous schemes to defraud their own employer’s (the taxpayers) yet the average person is to dumb to stop and think something just ain’t right here.

  2. Several employees advised the former city manager this smart grid system would cost in lieu of saving money. We were all told to shut up and make it work, Now guess who has abandoned ship and left us holding the bag. Its a shame we have commissioners who thought everything the last city manager said was fact and never did their own research. Maybe they just weren’t smart enough to google smart grid.

  3. They give everyone a tile and everything a name except this massive cancer that has destroyed this great nation. Many say it’s remnants of the old Nazi Party; other’s say its Marxist’s Socialist-Communist or some combination of them all. Now with Obama in the picture they through in a little mix of Islam as well.

    No matter what many of the elements of Fascist regimes of the past are either in play or fast coming into play everyday. They are becoming more brave, brazen and transparent everyday. In many cases no longer trying to hide their common goals thereby removing the armor that has previously distinguished the differences between the left and the right.

    Jeb Bush pulling the strings of his puppet Marco Rubio pushed an immigration bill through the Senate yesterday that promises the American people border security some day years to come but, a pathway to citizenship with no provisions to close the border and halt a new influx of millions more into the USA. Obama, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and other progressive repubs all in the sack with Obama.

    Let us not forget Jeb Bush’s national push for not only Charter Schools but even worse COMMON CORE. Experts say it is nothing more than New World Order training for our youth. Remember just like the lack of border security all the above NOW progressives and more support this movement.

    Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn by so called conservatives is the reality that the term “conservative” as it is reflected in any government actions is a misnomer. In fact it is nothing more than a tool used to divide and conquer. This has never been more evident than right now in the US Senate and probably the US Representatives in Congress as they address the progressive’s immigration fix again. Absolutely none of their previous fixes has achieved one thing.

    Fascist movements tend to bring about:

    Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    Diagnosis is unclear but, it is fair to say we are suffering from a lot of the above symptoms!

  4. It doesn’t matter what he does. He will be re-elected. He will make pizz-poor decisions for four years and then voters will return him for another four. Borders will mismanage the SO and enable perverts to operate freely and he will be re-elected. Carey Baker will increase his budget by 15% a year and he will be re-elected. Serving in public office in Lake County means never having to be accountable for anything.

  5. Name says:

    Leesburg’s investment in libraries and a new police station were reasonable. The investment smart grid remains to be seen.

  6. Surprise, surprise. When all this smart grid took place in Leesburg there was a history, in other towns, of this not working and not meeting the promises made by meter suppliers and city officials in those towns. I investigated smart meters. Did any commissioner investigate? This was not about saving residents money but about city control.
    I refused to allow the meter installer to place the smart meter on my home- he argued and said that I could not refuse and later the head on the electric department called and attempted to change my mind. He told me the sales “spin”- which was obviously not accurate- I reiterated the meter would not go on my home.

    To assure the commissioners offer a factual and viable soluition we should consider an advisory committee consisting of residents and business owners to guide us thru the mess that the past city manager and the commission created.

  7. Everyone I talk to and its many everyday say that goverment can no longer be trusted. I tend to agree. Where are the statesmen,patroits and everyday citizens who will stand up for the common taxpayer? Bigger goverment isn’t the answer better goverment is. The smart grid failed to save, be efficient and cost saving. In the real world of business we have a thing called (skin in the game) If you fail– you pay for it with your own resources. So Mr. Knowles it’s time to break out you personal check book or resign.
    How about this idea?? Why don’t we base the salaries of the mayor ,commisioners and other leaders on how much they save the taxpayers.

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