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|Unfortunately this issue was handled in a manner that has produced both controversy and division. My response will be brief. The long term benefits have yet to be realized as loans have been set to be repaid before dividends are realized. There appears to be frustration as the rates have increased and with limited facts I won't comment on that which is unclear. I believe these matters should be handled with better decorum by our public officials and negotiated in the best interest of the citizens.
As to the approach of paying debt owed I believe that to be the most sound approach. "First prepare your crops in the field and afterward build your house" is a principle that simply means make sure your income will outweigh your consumption. In acquiring an infrastructure that will benefit long term for our citizens I believe that having the Lake Apopka Natural Gas District partnership was a worthwhile investment. We must balance reasonable rates with paying off debt so as not to overburden the consumers in the process of retiring debt, and the board of directors need to keep this in mind while looking at the bottom line.
|The purpose of the Lake Apopka Natural Gas District is primarily putting this utility in the hands of the people and secondly an investment the city has taken.
Apopka is one of three cities that have a say in this utility, giving us representation on the board. Going to the meetings and expressing our concerns on prices and services continues to make this utility controlled by the people.
Secondly, we currently receive franchise fees each year from LANGD. If we sell our bonds, we will receive money now; however, if we hold on to this investment it will be a larger pay out later.
With EPA regulations forcing the power companies to transfer from coal to natural gas, the financial magazines such as Forbes and Market Watch are predicting the value of our investment will only double in the years to come.
In conclusion, it is not a financially smart move for the city to sell and is also a poor decision to give up our voice in a utility that a large portion of Apopka uses. Mentioned at last council meeting, to sell the bonds to help our budget is not a good reason to sell off city assets.
|In my work as quality control specialist for a large national corporation, I am in contact with companies dealing with utility costs. I have also heard from local agricultural folks about their gas costs fluctuating drastically without warning.
It is stunning to me some council member’s defense of Lake Apopka Natural Gas’ poor business practices and lack of transparency. In fact, LANG does not make routine, regular reports to the City Council. These practices do not comport with the practices of Orlando Utilities with the City of Orlando or Orange County Water with Orange County Government.
It is not acceptable to say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Our citizens deserve better. After repeated requests, if best accountability and transparency practices cannot be fulfilled, then the City of Apopka, as the LANG chartering organization, must go a different direction.
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