WG&L: Transfers comply with ordinance

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Water, Gas, and Light Commission has transferred funding to the city government over and above the 7.5 percent a city ordinance calls for, documents obtained from the utility suggest.

On Tuesday, city commissioners voted to direct staff to investigate the revenues of WG&L to ensure they are in compliance with a 2005 ordinance that calls for the utility to transfer "7.5 percent of all revenues" into the city coffers.

More specifically, Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell said he was concerned that the utility has failed to give the city its fair share of unmetered revenue.

On Wednesday, WG&L Finance Director John Vansant III said that he believes the utility is in compliance with the ordinance.

When asked about unmetered revenue, Vansant said that the city had agreed to accept $750,000 annually as its portion of the unmetered revenue.

"To the best that I know, that's where we are on unmetered revenue," Vansant said. "I believe we're paying what we're supposed to pay."

A spreadsheet obtained under a request through the Georgia Open Records Act shows the revenues and transfers of WG&L since 2006.

Those documents state that the utility transferred 11.59 percent of its total revenues to the City Commission in 2010, or roughly $12.5 million.

That figure, however, includes millions in credits from the settlement of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia's competitive trust agreement, of which Albany is the largest recipient.

Minus those millions, the transfer percentage drops to 7.45 percent, which is below the 7.5 percent figure in the ordinance.

The question left unresolved is whether heads of the city and WG&L will consider the MEAG credits "revenue" to be handed over; a question neither entity could answer Wednesday.