Cost-cutting efforts credited for reduced local Hydro rates

April 30, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews – Orangeville and Grand Valley residents have been given a reprieve on their hydro bills.

Local hydro ratepayers will enjoy an 11 per cent decrease on their bills. Mayor Rob Adams, who sits on the Orangeville Hydro board of directors, said the decrease means a break on distribution costs that was achieved after local cost-cutting efforts.

“Any reduction to Hydro rates is a positive thing,” he said, and lauded Orangeville Hydro staff for their efforts to lower delivery costs.

“We can’t control costs of the energy, but the distribution portion (of the monthly bill) is how much it costs us to deliver it to the household.”

The mayor’s term on the board won’t expire until 2016, but there will be some holes to fill this year. As a temporary remedy, council decided on Monday that three current Orangeville Hydro directors will be reappointed for a short term to accommodate this fall’s municipal election.

Three board positions will become vacant in June. Another director resigned last year and was not replaced. The complete board consists of seven directors.

The three whose terms are set to expire are willing to serve another three-year term.

In preparation for Orangeville Hydro Limited’s Annual Shareholder’s Meeting in June, council needs to determine how it wishes to fill the positions on Orangeville Hydro board of directors.

Council may wish to advertise for new members and include the three incumbents in the slate of candidates. It could reappoint the three incumbents and approve the best candidate as recommended from a previous application process.

Council could reappoint the three incumbents and place a new advertisement seeking new candidates for the one remaining board member.

During Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Sylvia Bradley lobbied in the interest of transparency to have the four positions advertised.

“We’ve reappointed a number of the members year after year,” she said. “I think they’ve all done a tremendous job. But, from the perspective of the community, there may be other people in the community who may like to (vie for a position).”

Coun. Jeremy Williams seconded the motion.

But Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock suggested that perhaps the municipal government to be chosen during this fall general election should have the responsibility to appoint board members.

He said current members could be reappointed with the understanding that it would be for a few months. Then the positions could be advertised and the next council could fill the vacancies.

“I find it difficult if you’re a new councillor to make those kinds of decisions,” said Coun. Bradley.

Coun. Williams said it would convenient to temporarily reappoint members and hand the responsibility off to the next council.

“But it’s not about what’s convenient,” he said. “It’s about what’s right and what’s perceived as right. I think it should be advertised. That should be the way we do business.”

The deputy mayor clarified his position by saying he believes it is indeed a good idea to advertise the running for board positions. But “in a short time, this council will become a lame-duck council,” said Deputy Mayor Maycock. “I would hate for us to do anything that wouldn’t be appropriate.”

He said it would be more appropriate to reappoint the members for six or eight months until staff could advertise the positions to be appointed by the next council.

In the end, council agreed to the deputy mayor’s assertions and accepted the idea of short-term reappointment until after the next election.

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