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Decorah City Council votes to oppose Alliant Energy's proposed rate increase

Posted: Mon, Apr 22, 2019 8:03 AM

The Decorah City Council voted 5-2 Monday morning to approve a resolution opposing Alliant Energy's proposed rate increase and to speak at the May 2nd Iowa Utilities Board public hearing in Decorah.

Several city council members spoke of how during last year's municipal utility referendum, Alliant Energy said its rates would not increase by more than 3 percent per year in the future.  Kirk Johnson said he believed Alliant was "dishonest" when it made such a promise, while Steve Luse said the proposed Alliant rate increase "is way beyond 3 percent per year."  Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss said the increase was being driven by the utility's investment in wind energy, a cost which would be spread over several years.

City officials also said they are concerned about the rate increase's impact on the city budget.  City council member Andy Carlson said city residents would face higher taxes on top of having to pay higher utilities charges.  City Administrator Chad Bird noted, "You just can't look at the budget and increase it 20 percent."

City council members Dan Bellrichard and Randy Schissel voted against the resolution.  Bellrichard said he needed more information about the Alliant request, saying, "just because it's an increase doesn't mean we should fight it," while Schissel complained, "here we are telling a business how to run."

A copy of the resolution approved by the Decorah City Council is linked below.