Ahead of 2013-14 budget planning several local organizations supported by the city of Laurinburg will make a case for continued funding at tonight’s city council meeting.
“We want them to see where their money is going,” said Tonia Stephenson, President of the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Represented by Stephenson, the chamber will serve as one of four delegations appearing before the city council to lobby for continued funding.
Joining Stephenson will be one of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy CEOs that successfully launched a business thanks to the Chamber’s program “YEA!” program. That program allows local students to create real businesses from the ground up using local investment from Chamber members.
According to Mayor Tommy Parker, presentations like this allow the council to function as better stewards of taxpayer money.
“We want to know in these times what the taxpayers are spending their money for. Is it salary increases or are they providing benefits and services to the community? That is all valuable feedback that we will receive (during the delegations),” Parker said.
In addition to the chamber, the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation (represented by Director Jim Willis), the Laurinburg/Maxton Airport Commission (represented by Executive Director Jo Ann Gentry) and the Scotland County Humane Society will all deliver presentations to the council.
The city council will also consider adjusting its electric utilities rate structure — a change that, if enacted, could mean less expensive electricity for many city customers.
“It’s going to be a slight reduction for base customers and for the customers using on-demand electricity as the on-demand threshold is going to increase,” Parker explained.
The changes will likely result in an annual loss in revenue of $99,000, according to a rate study commissioned by the city.
“This is an effort by the city to show that we are concerned with electric rates just like the consumer is,” Parker said, describing the change as a “shift in responsibility.”
Parker said that the city is counting on FCC’s new paper plant, which will go online in March in 2014, to “give (the city) balanced demand.”
“They will use more power when others aren’t,” Parker said. Council members initiated the rate study in response to feedback from local merchants who were concerned about what their electricity bill.
“We are trying to meet them halfway and trying to balance out their load,” said Parker, adding that the on demand threshold will likely increase from what he said was a relatively modest 30 kilowatt hours.