Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

February 14, 2013

KITCHELL: IMPA with a twist best LMU option

— One of the most famous quotes in the world is that “In war, truth is the first casualty.” That also appears to be the case with the last week of discussions about the future of the Logansport Municipal Utilities.

Last Tuesday, Mayor Ted Franklin said on “Talk of the Town,” a local radio program that he didn’t want to explore the option of joining the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, which Logansport created in 1980, because of problems he had learned about at its brand new Prairie State plant in southern Illinois. As it turns out, the information he received about rate increases for IMPA cities he claimed would hamstring economic development in Indiana cities was erroneous, according to IMPA’s Roger Merriman. In fact, IMPA has its rate structure in place for the day when Franklin is long since past retirement age. In fact, the operation of the plant will not do what Franklin, citing an unsubstantiated Internet report, claimed it would do.

Franklin’s comments came a day after LMU Utility Superintendent Paul Hartman said at a city council meeting that the delivery grid owned by Duke is an obstacle in delivering cheaper wholesale power rates to Logansport. But IMPA has that base covered, too. Delivery costs for power are absorbed by the agency as a cost of doing business.

What this means is this: IMPA power rates are competitive and Logansport remains in the scant minority of Indiana communities with power plants that isn’t an IMPA member.

Although I have no opposition to synthetic fuels and the development of alternative energy sources, the current proposal doesn’t work for Logansport. It could be incorporated into another proposal that would lower rates and maintain LMU and its employees. There are reasons to like an endless source of fuel that may reduce landfill space, but there are reasons not to like this proposal before the city. Here are some:

1. A required 6,000-ton a day in trash that will be needed to run the plant, just to provide all the electricity for Logansport. Even with rail traffic, estimates indicate it would take over 100 Logansports to provide enough trash for this proposal. Do we really want to see trainloads of trash coming through Logansport every day?

2. Public health. The problems hundreds of railroad cars or truck would possibly create over the long run could include odor and vermin. If done poorly, an incineration plant could even affect property values.

3. Economic development. What jobs at a trash-to-energy plant would pay is unknown, as is the quality of the jobs.

4. Out clauses. How would Logansport exit out of an agreement with Pyrolizer if things don’t go well? How would Pyrolizer exit if it wanted out? Is either option possible? Nobody has said.

5. Rates. If LMU will hold the majority of stock in a public/private corporation that runs an incinerator, who will determine the rates and will the meeting where they are approved be open to the public?

Joining IMPA, with a twist, would make sense, and here’s why:

1. Logansport would be able to maintain its existing Race Street plant without removing the boilers. Peru, which is an IMPA member, maintains its boilers and is paid $4,500 a month in standby income from IMPA to do it.

2. IMPA rates are stable because IMPA has a larger capacity to purchase it and distribute it. IMPA rates apparently haven’t hurt Indiana cities because the number of members has nearly doubled since 1994 to nearly 60 communities.

3. Retain LMU employees to operate a Pyrolizer incinerator or alternative energy systems including hydroelectric power at the 10th Street location. This is the twist: Pryolizer would produce peaking power for Logansport based on its ability of trash fuel, which at this point, is a huge unknown factor for a plant opening in four years.

4. Rates for local industries. Based on the current contract LMU has with Duke, rates for local industries will likely increase in the next two years. IMPA has renegotiated Duke contracts to lower rates and has recently in Covington. Unless it can here, LMU ratepayers will be in the middle of a national recovery paying higher rates that will make them less competitive than neighboring Peru which has two four-lane highways to Logansport’s one. The Pyrolizer proposal does nothing to modify the existing Duke contract. IMPA can.

It’s time to be honest about the bottom lines in utilities and put the pubic good of utilities ahead of personal agendas.

Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at ptnews@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • FREY: An ode to service days gone by There were many times in the past year that I walked by the small glass corner curio cabinet.I often glanced at the photographs from the corners of my eyes as I made my way past the nurse’s station and out the pass-coded locked doors.It is one of man

    August 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Looking out for youth and e-cigarettes Technology, it seems, finds solutions for just about everything. So it should surprise no one that the tobacco industry, under siege for years for marketing and selling unhealthy products, found a way around the anti-smoking fervor through a smoke-le

    August 22, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: A matter of bad habits Mary Ellen and I have been happy together for so long that we sometimes forget how much we annoy each other, so on the trip back home from our recent vacation, it was time catch up on our bad habits.For example, I told Mary Ellen that she is a relent

    August 22, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Life is not all choices There is a post on Facebook that says, “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible

    August 21, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Reining in unlimited farm subsidies Reining in unlimitedfarm subsidiesIn January, President Obama declared that despite Congressional logjams, “America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for Ame

    August 21, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Why government openness matters One of the fundamental lessons of the 9/11 tragedy was that our government carried a share of blame for the failure to stop the attacks. Not because it was asleep at the switch or ignorant of the dangers that Al Qaeda posed, but because the agencies

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Continue work of modernizing courts Indiana’s new chief justice, Loretta Rush, has a lot on her plate. She not only has to preside over the Indiana Supreme Court, but also to modernize the state’s other courts as well.Indiana is well on its way toward bringing courts into the 21st cent

    August 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Mo-ped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mo-peds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana.A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 20, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.