February 1, 2021

Independence Utility Customers to Get $200 Rebate


By Giovanni Antonio

  In what turned out to be a bit of a contentious vote, Independence City Council passed Resolution 21-713 in a 5-2 vote. In doing so they approved returning approximately 11.2 million dollars, breaking down to around $200 to each IPL account.
 "Citizen speaker" Laura Dominik took the opportunity to video conference in to urge the council not to pass the resolution. Citing several reasons she was against it, reasons ironically enough later repeated by the 2 dissenting votes cast by Council members Karen Deluccie (At-Large) and Dan Hobart (District 4).
 Councilman Steinmeyer spoke of the pandemic and having compassion for the citizens who are in need.
 Deluccie and Hobart expressed concern that issuing a rebate as opposed to a rate reduction might violate the city charter. It was suggested perhaps paying off bonds that would come due soon, in hopes to save the city money. However there weren't any concrete plans laid out as how that would in turn be transferred into a rate reduction for the ratepayers, as the charter directs.
 Mr. Hobart incorrectly stated that this wasn't endorsed by the PUAB, which Mayor Weir later corrected, causing him to issue an apology.
 In the end, after the dust settled, and after cleaning up the language of the Resolution, Deluccie and Hobart voted against returning the excess funds to the ratepayers.
 Mayor Eileen Weir, Council Members Brice Stewart (District 2), John Perkins (District 1), Mike Huff (At-Large) and Mike Steinmeyer (District 3) voted in favor doing so.
 No time-line has been given, but with the approval of Resolution 21-713, around 56,000 IPL accounts should receive approximately a $200 rebate in the near future.

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