Friday, January 08, 2010

LUS rate hike returns

LUS will be going back to the City-Parish Council for another go at a rate hike on January 19th. Or so report the Independent, (not once but twice), the Advertiser and KLFY.

Of the early reports the most interesting has come from the Independent's Walter Pierce who starts looking into the background politics of the matter. His speculations focus on shifts toward rate hike support from Purvis Morrison and (very tentatively) Sam Dore.

But my guess is that some serious negotiating has already been going on with Brandon Sheldon and Kenny Boudreaux being taken more seriously than in the first pass when the complaint was heard that little explanation was given and no inclination to discuss mitigating the increase was entertained.

There is a lot sitting in the background of this issue, including the upcoming redistricting and a prospective change to the home rule charter that raises uncomfortable questions about city vs parish revenues and charter-based restrictions on how LUS' in lieu of tax revenues are controlled and how that money can be spent.

This might well get more politically sticky before it is put to bed.

For tech infrastructure interests that are a focus of readers of this blog the consequence of securing the rate increase might well be to put the federal stimulus money for LUS' smart grid infrastructure back on the table. (See earlier coverage.) Without the rate increase LUS was going to have to turn down $11,630,000 dollars. It'd be nice to get the feds to pay for all that build out—and smart too. Having to walk away from that much money might well have influenced the administration to quickly take another stab and the Council to reconsider its earlier action.

It should be interesting to watch the sausage being made.

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