Bartlett residents to vote on electric company

Posted at 6:48 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 21:06:57-04

Paul Mathis said, on Monday his power went out. 

"It do it all the time on our side of town. I don't know if it's the wire, transformer. I don' t know what it is, but if somebody blows hard the lights go off," said Mathis.

And that's not the only issue he has with the City of Bartlett Utilities.

"We get nothing for our money but high bills, high electric," said Mathis.  

"Trees are literally up into the lines. The transformers are old and going out left and right. Some of these polls, if you just look around, the polls are at a 45-degree angle," said City of Bartlett Mayor Landry Pack. 

For almost two years, the city has been working to sell the utility company, until Pack was elected mayor in May.

"I just fought as hard as I could, you know tooth and nail, that to at least have the citizens say so," said Pack.

On November's ballot, citizens can vote to keep or sell their city-owned utility company.

"We need to pull together as citizens and work together. Try to brainstorm and get something did," said Mathis. 

If the city were to sell its utility company, it would be purchased by Bartlett Electric Co-Op. It is estimated the upgrades needed for the city will cost around $5 million.

"They're going to say this cost us $5 million now we have to recoup that money. They're going to have to pass those costs onto the citizens," said Pack, who is in favor of keeping the company. 

In a statement, James M. Grant, former mayor of the City of Bartlett, said the city should sell the company. 

"Bartlett does not have the skilled employees, working equipment, nor financial means to keep the Municipal Light & Power System," said Grant. 

"We are going to have probably a small rate differential for a period of time to try to recover that $5 million, but even with that rate differential, we estimate that the citizens' rates should stay level as to where they are now," said Bartlett Electric Co-Op CEO Bryan Lightfoot. 

Mathis said he does not know what his vote will be, but he does know the city needs change. 

"Right now I don't know I'm between a rock and a hard place," said Mathis. 

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