LP&L ready to fight city on street light money - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

LP&L ready to fight city on street light money

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The LP&L board is fighting back, protesting a decision made by city council that would force millions of dollars of city expenses into their budget.

Board members plan to reject the city council vote, setting the stage for a power show-down between city hall and the city owned utility.

Last Tuesday five city council members voted to add a $3-million street light expense into the LP&L budget.

Board members say this added expense could jeopardize rebates to customers, and could even raise rates in the future.

"It is just an item that by convenience is moved from the city budget to our budget," said LP&L board member Loyd Rinehart.

The Lubbock Power and Light board met on Thursday in hopes of getting their voices heard.

"What we are trying to say as a board is that this is inconsistent with our charter and if its inconsistent with our charter then we don't believe it is our issue," said Rinehart.

As proposed by the city, almost $2-million of LP&L's budget is set to power street lights, another million is in place for maintenance.  That's $3-million Rinehart says LP&L should not be responsible for.

"The part that really bothers me ultimately is whenever certain items are put on the LP&L budget that are non electric related," said Rinehart.

Mayor Tom Martin was at the meeting, along with Councilman Paul Beane, and Councilwoman Karen Gibson. The mayor and Beane were the only two on council to vote against this budget.

"Several of my fellow council members have said well that's all we are going to do, we are not going to do anymore," said Martin.

Council members in favor of this budget have said in the past that this increase will not take too much from  LP&L's reserves, but Rinehart says there's more to the issue.

"Whenever you start taking away budget powers, when you say I'm going to put this item on your budget. you are basically saying to the board is what you have done in the past is nice, but no longer are you valuable," said Rinehart.

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