The cost of water from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities will be going up 2.5-percent next year. In fact... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says it is the only division that will see a rate increase in 2014. Leathers says the 5-cent per unit increase is part of the Water Division's new, 5-million dollar budget. He says the increase will cost the average, residential customer another 35-cents a month. Leathers says it's mainly due to maintaining more than 100 miles of aging pipes and mains. Leathers says... through the good work of Water Division leaders, and other board officials... they were able to reduce what was a 6-percent increase in October to 2.5-percent. He adds they try to replace about one-mile of pipe each year... but, adds they'll be studying a long-term plan to do more in early 2014. Leathers says... even though expenses in tranmission and distribution are expected to increase in 2014... operating costs for the Water Division are expected to go down by 100-thousand dollars from the current year.
There will be no electric rate increase in the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' service area next year. That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... now that the board has approved the approximately 40-million dollar spending plan for the Electric Division. It's the board's largest division. Leathers credited the work of the division's managers for holding down their costs to keep rates down. However... he says the BPU's "Electric Team" will keep an eye on where the division is over the first quarter of 2014. In recent years... Leathers says they've looked at employee head-count... and, whether the division can do things differently. He says... one "significant concern" going into 2014 is an expected loss of one-million dollars in tariff sales -- due mainly to losses in the industrial sector. However... Leathers says the BPU's "Off-System" -- or out of territory sales are expected to be 12-million dollars next year with plans to "aggressively" run the board's gas turbine.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking some heat from environmental groups for his decision to approve a repowering and expansion project for the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk. Critics are calling the conversion from a coal to natural gas-fired facility an "unnecessary burning" of fossil fuels. Earthjustice Attorney Chris Amato... who also represents two other groups opposing it... says the National Grid proposal to simply upgrad power lines is in line with the state's own "energy highway blueprint." Amato says it's remarkable that Cuomo announced this while a period of public comment on the matter was still under way. Amato adds that National Grid's plan "would have been much cheaper... than converting this dinosaur of a plant to natural gas." However... Governor Cuomo says the agreement will result in a larger, cleaner power plant that reduces consumers' costs, creates jobs and stabilizes the local property tax base.
The public is being asked for it's help in solving an alleged burglary at an area golf course in the early morning hours of this past December 11th. Sheriff's officers say they received an alarm from the Bemus Point Golf Course about 3:30 AM... and, a responding patrol found that someone had broken into the clubhouse. But... they were apparently scared off when the alarm went off. Deputies are asking anyone with information on the break-in to contact their confidential We Tip-line at 1-800-78-CRIME... that's 1-800-782-7463. If your tip leads to an arrest and conviction... you may be eligible for a reward of up to one-thousand dollars.
The Salvation Army in Jamestown is putting on the push to get presents for an additional 300 children that otherwise won't have any gifts this Christmas. This year... the Salvation Army is trying to fill about 14-hundred total requests for gifts from it's 'Angel Tree' Program. Captain John Merchant... speaking yesterday with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster... says they've had an "awesome" response from the community this year. However... Merchant says -- for whatever reason -- there is still a need. Merchant says people can take a tag through today from their tree at the Lakewood Wal-Mart store... and, it will tell you the child's name... and, what they would like. He says if the person could buy any of those items... that would be great. Merchant says you can drop off the present at the Customer Service desk in one of their two gift boxes. He says they prefer the gift be unwrapped. Merchant says gifts for the Angel Tree program can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army at 83 South Main Street, and K-Mart on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott. For more information... call 664-4108.