(Atlantic) The Atlantic City Council approved the 2013 Atlantic Municipal Utilities budget Wednesday.
What makes this significant is AMU’s total budget is up 12.1-percent from the current year. The biggest factors seem to be a 35-percent increase in electric production costs and a 21.1-percent increase in the cost of electric transmission.
AMU General Manager Steve Tjekes says the electric production cost increase is primarily due to the costs associated with meeting environmental standards at the coal fired plant in Council Bluffs.
“This new round of construction has mostly been environmental control building structures dealing with environmental standards which has cost around $7-million,” stated Tjepkes.
AMU’s budget report indicates that their fund balance will decline by $431,000 or 9.2-percent despite the proposed rate increases which amounts to about a $7.00 increase per customer per month.
“The hardest thing in the world is to raise rates because we know that is not popular, “ stated Tjepkes. “But then again it is the most important thing we do because we have to keep the plant open.”
Despite these increases Tjepkes says utility rates will still be lower than the regional average.
The Council voted unanimously to approve AMU’s budget.
December 7, 2012