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  • Randy C. Lewis

BETTER BOUNTIFUL? OR BETTER BOUNTIFUL FOR THE WEALTHY?

A group posing as Better Bountiful is trying to take over Bountiful City government by running against a city hall project that the City Council has already voted down. The Better Bountiful candidates are led by mayoral candidate Dean Collinwood, who has previously been an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress and the state legislature. He and his cohorts, Kenny Knighton, Bret Hutchings, and Alex Densley are falsely claiming the City is a shambles, and they’re making vague promises about “getting back to basics” and being “fiscal conservatives.” In reality, the slogans fall apart, because you can’t get “back to basics” if you don’t understand the basics. Better Bountiful doesn’t understand the basics of one of the City’s basic services, and Collinwood is proposing policies that would cost Bountiful residents millions of dollars and jeopardize the financial stability of one of Bountiful’s most significant municipal services: the Bountiful City Light and Power Department. Here’s Dean Collinwood on his plans for the Power Department: Dean for Mayor July 17 at 8:04am Matt Holmes asked what my position is on solar in Bountiful. The City Council's decision to remove most incentives for going solar is exactly the WRONG thing to do. We need to do all we can to develop alternative sources of energy. After the meeting where the council voted "against" solar, I met with the head of the Utah Solar Energy Association. We both agreed that the city's decision essentially kills solar for Bountiful. The minute I am in office I will begin trying to get the vote reversed. I wish every dwelling in the city had solar, at least as supplemental energy. That's my position, Matt, and thanks for asking. Dean There are some 200 solar customers in Bountiful, and they are 1% of the City’s 16,800 power customers. The action Mr. Collinwood is complaining about is the City Council’s decision to stop paying new solar customers twice as much for the power they generate as the City could buy it for somewhere else. Last year these 200 customers, many without a full year of generating history, cost the City approximately $100,000.*** *** (This loss is a combination of the costs of buying solar power when it can’t be used and selling it for half of what Collinwood wants to pay for it, the loss in power sales revenue, and the loss in franchise tax revenue. See Report of the Bountiful Power Commission at Bountifulutah.gov) Mr. Collinwood says he’d like every home in Bountiful to have solar panels, and he wants the City to create a permanent subsidy for solar customers and pay them twice as much for their power as it’s worth. WOW! Think about that carefully, and do the math. The solar equipment he wants every home to have is a $25,000 to $30,000 cost, which most residents cannot afford. He wants the taxpayers to subsidize that cost. It’s no coincidence that the 200 solar customers are among Bountiful’s wealthier residents. They’re the group principally able to afford the equipment. Providing the subsidy Collinwood wants to 16,600 more customers would bankrupt the Power Department in short order. The City loses more than $100,000 annually on these current 200 customers. If all 16,800 customers were on that same Collinwood rate subsidy plan, the loss to the City would be 84 times as great: that’s $8,400,000 each year. This is NOT fiscal conservatism. This is granting a significant financial subsidy to the wealthier power customers in Bountiful (who need it the least) at the expense of everyone else, and it’s particularly unfair to those in the middle and lower income levels. Solar power is an important part of the City’s power mix, but Better Bountiful wants the tail to wag the dog. That’s just bad policy. Bountiful City Light and Power is a well-managed, well-maintained operation that provides power to residents at lower rates than any of our neighboring communities enjoy. The Better Bountiful claim that the system is falling apart is simply false, and the chief beneficiaries of the misguided Collinwood solar subsidy rate will be the solar vendors who are rooting for the Better Bountiful candidates. SO – before you cast your vote, think about Better Bountiful: better Bountiful for who? MAYOR RANDY LEWIS is the best vote for a city government that looks out for everyone, not just the 1%.

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