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Hines wants discussion of WG&L

ALBANY -- The city's newest commissioner wants to take a closer look at the relationship between the city of Albany and the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission.

Ward II commissioner the Rev. Ivey Hines said this week he thinks the commission should take a fresh look at the way the entity conducts business and operates as a subsidiary of the city.

"I think we need to discuss the official relationship and the danger of the functional relationship between us and WG&L," Hines said to his colleagues.

Hines made the comment after learning that, while WG&L conducts most of its work independently of the city of Albany, the City Commission is ultimately responsible, legally, for the actions of the utility.

"You mean we can get sued for something they do?" Hines asked. "That's crazy to me."

City Attorney Nathan Davis said Friday that, at the end of the day, the utility is a part of the city of Albany, even though it has its own finance department, own human resources department and own procurement department.

"That's the real linchpin of all of this; like the police department, the fire department, they're part of the city charter," Davis said.

WG&L is one of two city branches that has a separate board that manages the organization. The other is the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, which is overseen by the city's Aviation Commission. But WG&L is the only city department that doesn't submit its budget each year to the City Commission for approval.

Instead, the mayor of the city has traditionally served as the chairman of the WG&L board, presiding over meetings and carrying one vote on matters involving the board, including the budget.

Under the city's original charter, the intent of WG&L appears to have been to provide its utilities as essentially a nonprofit organization, with any revenues over and above expenses to be transfered into the city of Albany's coffers for what the framers of the charter likely intended to be the overall good of the city.

In the upcoming budget year, WG&L is expected to transfer $9 million of its $125 million budget to the city of Albany. The city, in turn, pays WG&L for streetlights and other electric service within the city limits.

Comments

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

Well we see how well the Politicians have run the City. Now they want to bring that same expertise to ruin (sorry I mean run) WG&L.

HANDS OFF Commissioners we don’t need your rate increases at WG&L that will follow your wisdom to takeover of WG&L.

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jglass 2 years, 5 months ago

Abytaxpayer, you are so right. If the City of Albany were to take over WG&L, like they want to, there would be NO reserves or money. And, I bet truth be known, the city probably does not pay the bills for the street lights and utilities within the city limits. The city just needs to keep their hand off!!!

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

Good example is the MEAG funds. Refund Money that was to benefit the people who paid their utility bills, and help keep rates low but NO the Commissioners are raiding the fund and spending it for the use of the city and WG&L is forced to raise our rates.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Then after they drain up all the money they will come up with this idea..."Let's just simply raise the rates, let the WG&L customers help pay for this unneeded project."

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

Somebody smells some money that they'd like to get they hands on.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

They already got their hands onWG&L's MEAG money and it will run out in a few years. They are now looking to force the rate payers to keep supporting their wasteful spending by skimming other money from WG&L and force the rates up just to support their spending.

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