Each week we will be asking the candidates the questions YOU'RE asking.
|Week 8||Seat 3 Candidates||Seat 4 Candidates|
|Bill Arrowsmith||Kyle Becker||Young Kim|
|The continuing public purpose of the District would be to maintain a very valuable asset that promises to provide a recurring income stream to the taxpayers for years to come. The District was formed in 1959 at no cost to the city and has grown to be a $25 million dollar asset of which the City of Apopka is a 2/5 owner.
It continues to maintain an excellent financial position with $3 million in outstanding bonds and almost $5 million in cash. It is unfortunate that Joe Kilsheimer would chose to interrupt his busy schedule to join one of his campaign supporters to complain about a five year agreement that was made two years ago with the local nursery industry. It was a very fair agreement that cut some growers price per therm in half for a fixed term of five years.As I serve on the Board of Lake Apopka Gas, at $100 per month, it is one additional way for Joe to attempt to discredit me during this election term. At each meeting we continue to approve developer agreements with new residential communities in NW Orange and Lake Counties and have surpassed 18,000 homes being served.The District enjoys a very professional leadership team and provides employment for 55 families with many years of experience in their positions. The City of Apopka has received almost $2 million dollars in utility tax and franchise fees over the past year and at such time the bonds are paid off will begin to receive dividends as an added benefit.
|The LANGD’s mission: “To provide competitive natural gas energy services to all consumers within our market area with a commitment to customer courtesy and care with a high regard for the value of our customers, employees and the communities that we serve.”
Early in my campaign, I was approached by concerned businesses within the agriculture industry, and have since devoted time in researching this matter. In my review I would challenge the notion some of the key ideas are fulfilled in delivering LANGD’s mission, especially from a competitive standpoint.
I invite readers to read the law creating the LANGD (Ch 99-454, House Bill 1423 shows the latest revisions). I would pay special attention to Sections 7(10), 16, and 20. Most concerning, LANGD is not subject to Florida’s Public Service Commission oversight when determining their pricing structure.
LANGD charges more than double the per-therm transportation rate than other providers, in industries with paper thin margins this pricing approach is adversely impacting businesses. Not until the agriculture industry elicited help in Tallahassee did LANGD temporarily modify their pricing, and only for agriculture businesses.
The LANGD relationship and benefit does need a thorough analysis, and I plan to do so if elected.
|On the morning of February 22nd, I contacted Lake Apopka Natural Gas District (LANGD) and they informed me that the LANGD board members are preparing an official statement in response to the Mayor’s letter written to LANGD, primarily inquiring about the public purpose of it. Inquiring further I read an article called “Apopka mayor ‘troubled’ by management municipal gas company” written by Bethany Rodgers from Orlando Sentinel. If I summarized her article correctly, it appears is not about answering this question, but it simply revolves around a clash between the Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and the two sitting board members of LANGD, who are also currently the two presiding commissioners of Apopka (Bill Arrowsmith and Billie Dean). The Mayor wants to keep gas prices low for agriculture, while the two board member of Lake Apopka Natural Gas (Bill Arrowsmith and Billie Dean) want to increase gas prices.
I currently do not take any stance regarding this issue, but find that a public debate would be beneficial regarding this issue whether Lake Apopka Natural Gas District has served its public purpose or not.