Orange joins fight against rate increase

Orange joins fight against rate increase

The Orange City Council officially denied CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp.’s request for a rate increase at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 23. The council previously reviewed the ordinance for denial of the proposed increase at its Oct. 9 meeting and approved the measure unanimously Oct. 23.

CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp. filed a statement of intent with the city July 2, 2012, to increase gas rates in the Beaumont/East Texas Division of the company by $8.6 million. The increase would raise the residential service charge for customers from approximately $12.25 per month to approximately $20.25 per month. Orange, Beaumont and other cities in the area have hired Lawton Law Firm to review the proposed rate increase and negotiate on behalf of the cities.

In other matters, the council approved extending a contract with NAPCO Chemical Company for the purchase of NAPCO 201C at a rate of $13 per gallon for 2013. NAPCO 201C is a liquid phosphate utilized as a sequestering agent to remove iron from that city’s water supply. Orange Public Works and Engineering Department director James “Jim” Wolf said the chemical is used and the water also chlorinated in order to make it safe for consumption. The city purchased about 5,700 gallons from the company in 2012. Wolf said the chemical company would extend the current $13 per gallon rate into calendar year 2013, so the rate would not increase from what is being paid currently. He also said the city does not add fluoride to their water.

Orange Police Chief Lane Martin spoke to the council regarding a proposed resolution authorizing an agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety allowing approved police personnel to screen and receive excess federal property. Martin said the group program is a military surplus program they could participate in at no cost to the city.

“There’s a laundry list of things to choose from,” Martin told the council. “There are a lot of items. … There are even some airplanes, which we don’t particularly need.”

Martin said items of interest to his office would include more useful tools like equipment bags, helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. He said the program helps save the city money by providing these surplus items, many of which are used on a daily basis, at no charge.

As the meeting closed, Mayor Pro Tem and District 1 councilwoman Theresa Beauchamp reminded those gathered of another matter close to her heart.

“Don’t forget to vote,” Beauchamp encouraged.