Tpa, ACTION - TECO Energy Agmt HEARING 11/6
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---------------------------------From:CJ Reynolds cjreynolds@...Subject: Change our Energy Future in TAMPA 11/6
ACTION: TAMPA urgently needs you to attend a City Council PUBLIC HEARING and FIRST READING of the TECO Franchise Agreement on Thursday Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. (315 E. Kennedy) to POWER OUR FUTURE. Come speak, support those who do, pass the word, and/or contact your City Council member (send a letter, e-mail and/or call).
The City of Tampa is in the process of approving a 25-year franchise agreement with TECO. City Council has scheduled a PUBLIC HEARING and FIRST READING on Thursday Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. (315 E. Kennedy) to hear comments about this and related concerns. TECO can do more for the City, and the Mayor's staff can do more. We need to ask for a STRONG commitment to energy efficiency, energy conservation, storm security (undergrounding) etc.
ISSUES AND CONCERNS
The proposed franchise agreement:
· is for 25 years (standard business)
· Has NO buy-out option. The City cannot create a municipally owned utility for the next 25 years. There are 34 cities in FLA that have done this to become energy independent, control costs for residents and use revenue for the citys benefit, not profit for shareholders.
· TECO collects a standard 4.6 % franchise fee from us and pays to the City. Most cities are at 6% across the state. This fee goes into the City's General Budget.
To improve Tampa's ENERGY FUTURE -- we need to push for the following:
· Buy-out clause so residents and future Mayors can consider the option at 10 and 15 years.
· If TECO persists in opposing the buy-out clause, the contract length should be reduced to 10 years, to put the POWER FOR OUR FUTURE in our hands, not TECOs.
· 1% of the 4.6% franchise fee should be DEDICATED to GREEN TAMPA initiatives to improve energy efficiency and conservation. This will reduce the citys energy bill and our expenses. Example can include: purchasing LED street lights, energy reduction programs, alternative sources (large solar arrays on city buildings), creation of 0% interest loans for residents, improved storm security efforts (i.e. undergrounding overhead wires in vulnerable areas) etc.
· A line created in the City budget to easily track progress and get an Annual Energy Investment and Savings Report Card.
In essence, we pay the bill for energy waste/lost opportunity from status quo thinking. TECO profits and the City falls behind in our green initiatives. We need you to continue, for a little longer, to be the ACTIVE POWER for CHANGE, the POWER for GOOD that you have been. Come to city council Thursday night. Speak, or support those who do .. Pass the word.
Below is an overview of Franchise Fees, Undergrounding, Green Tampa Initiative. The contract and other background materials are available at http://docserver.tampagov.net/cache/00002/099/00000001.PDF (28.52 MB - takes a minute to download)
Contact CJ Reynolds at cjreynolds@... for more info.
What is a Franchise Agreement and Franchise Fees?
The City, under the law, has the right to charge fees to the Utility companies for the use of its streets and right of ways, and as the right to do business in this city. By law, the municipality can implement a franchise fee that is collected by the utility and require that it be distributed back to the municipality. The discussions and negotiations between the Utility and the City. They agree on what the Utility should pay. This fee, which appears on your bill, is called Franchise Fee.
To make the point clear -- the Utility does not pay this fee. We do! The Utility collects it from us and pays the city. In the case of TECO, there is Utility Tax which is 10% and the 4.6% Franchise Fee. This means, the City collects money from us in two ways. A Franchise Fee is not considered a tax by the IRS, but since we have no choice but to comply, most people would consider it a tax in disguise.
The Franchise Fee from Tampa Electric is X million. This goes into the General Fund. This is standard practice in most cities fees are placed in a citys general funds and used for everyday operations of a municipality. City Managers prefer to allocate funds at their discretion.
However, other citizen-focused municipalities dedicate their funds for a specific purpose. One example is the City of Minnetonka (MN) -- the city is using franchise fee revenue to defray the costs associated with burying overhead utility lines.
The REQUEST from Citizens
With implementation of the next Franchise Agreement, we request that City allocate 1% of the annual Franchise Fee starting in the 2010 budget, to be spent on solely on projects that reduce the Citys long-term energy costs, initiatives to secure the energy infrastructure and meet sustainability goals to strengthen the GREEN TAMPA INITIATIVE.
We request that a comprehensive plan be developed with assistance from outside experts and publicly discussed with Citizens for consideration.
The Capital Improvement Projects Budget Process
The City ofTampa s annual capital improvement projects (CIP) budget process begins in November-December with an initial review of revenue estimates for the upcoming year.
Instructions are prepared and threshold levels of funding for CIPs are developed. Instructions and applicable thresholds are forwarded to departments in February.
Departments then prepare and prioritize their CIP requests for the mayors review. The operating budget process starts approximately three weeks after the CIP budget process.
This allows the budget staff to begin the CIP review process while departments work on their operating budgets.
City of Tampa Green Initiative
In FY08, the City of Tampa formalized its existing and long standing commitment to environmental and energy efficient green practices. City Council passed and Mayor Iorio signed the City of Tampa s green resolution. The city will utilize the Florida Green Building Coalitions designation standards,to help improve environmental performance
through a number of mediums (energy, water, air, land, waste), and evaluate environmental practices done in-house.
Along with the green resolution, two ordinances were revised that further strengthened Tampa s commitment to lead by example and ensure a high quality of life for future generations.
One ordinance established a code section for evolving green and sustainable initiatives and
future regulatory additions. A second ordinance was revised amending an existing regulation, to reduce turf area over the years and help conserve a precious natural resource, water.
The Mayor announced the appointment of Tampa s first green officer in April 2008. The green officer is responsible for coordinating the enactment of policies and green building measures to
implement environmentally sustainable practices, methods and regulatory standards. The green officer will also focus the citys efforts to become a certified Florida Green Local Government by October 2010 and to achieve compliance with the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, to reduce our communitys emissions of global warming pollutants and reduce Tampa s carbon footprint.
Summary: Burying Overhead Power Lines
There are benefits and drawbacks to burying utility lines, as opposed to leaving them overhead. One primary benefit storm security and safety improvement. Burying utility lines decreases the likeliness that a power outage will occur as a result of wind damage or downed trees from a storm.
Risks created by overhead utility lines include:
· Utility poles in close proximity to streets can cause more serious traffic accidents
· Street obstructions occur in the roadway when the utility company must repair, replace, or relocate utility poles and lines
· Electrical lines downed during storms, or for other reasons, pose a serious electrocution hazard
· Downed lines result in the loss of power negatively impacts the welfare of residents
Undergounding will reduce the frequency of power outages due to wire issues. However, the duration of some power outages may increase because they take more time to repair when a problem or outage does occur.
Another benefit to burying overhead utility lines is the aesthetic value. Removing utility poles and lines creates a natural look, which benefits property value. Trees can to grow more naturally since the restriction of the overhead lines has been removed. It furthermore removes the clear zone restriction, and allows more trees to be planted.
But is it a Good Practice?
The City of TAMPA currently REQUIRES developers to bury power lines in new residential developments.
IN CONJUCTION with the Citys focus on Neighborhoods budget commitment -- existing neighborhoods should undergo a comprehensive evaluation and prioritization -- to identify the most vulnerable neighborhoods, and make progress toward budgeting an annual undergrounding plan.