Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The Whitley County Democratic Party wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Message from President Obama

This time of year, Americans around the country are taking the time to exchange heartfelt messages with friends and loved ones, reflecting on the past year. They write of achievements and setbacks, of births, graduations, promotions, and moves.

These messages allow us to overcome the miles that separate us. And they allow us to continue one of the most basic American traditions that has held folks close for centuries -- the simple sharing of stories.

And as families gather around holiday tables this season, we also have the opportunity to share the stories of the change this movement has achieved together.

It is a narrative woven by individuals across America -- in big cities and small towns, hospitals and classrooms, in auto manufacturing plants and auto supply stores.

These are stories of rebuilding, and of innovation. Stories of communities breathing new life into old roads and bridges, of local plants harnessing alternative fuel into new energy. Stories of small businesses getting up, dusting themselves off, and beginning to grow again. Stories of soldiers who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq now coming home -- and enjoying the holidays this year in the company of loved ones.

These are stories of progress.

They unite us, and they are ours to share.

We've pulled many of them together in one place, PROGRESS. You can see what our reforms have meant to Americans in every state -- block by block, community by community.

The reforms that we fought long and hard for are not talking points.

And their effects don't change based on the whims of politicians in Washington. They are achievements that have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of Americans around the country. They are achievements that would not have been possible without you. PROGRESS localizes them -- and brings them to life.

It tells of how a green technology business in Phoenix, Arizona, is using a grant through the Recovery Act's Transportation Electrification program to bring the first electric-drive vehicles and charging stations to cities around the country.

It tells how, thanks to closing the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage, a diabetic woman in Burlington, Vermont will no longer have to choose between purchasing her monthly groceries or the insulin she needs to survive.

It tells about how 136,000 Pennsylvania residents' jobs were saved or created by the Recovery Act.

And about how, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 22,900 small businesses in Utah's 2nd Congressional District are now eligible for health care tax credits -- and how 17,500 residents in Idaho's 1st with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

There are thousands more stories like these.

In the coming days, as we gather with our loved ones at dinner tables around the nation, let's pass them on. Let's celebrate the spirit of service and responsibility that brought them to fruition. And let's steady ourselves with the resolve to continue pressing forward.

Because the coming year will hold new challenges -- battles that have yet to be fought, and stories of progress that have yet to be written.

Take a look at the progress we've made in your area -- and share the stories you read with your friends and family:

Happy holidays, and God bless,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Message from Indiana Democratic Party Chairman


I wanted to write a quick note to wish you a happy holidays and thank you for the work you have done in the last year. During that time, Democrats have had some monumental legislative accomplishments to be extremely proud of, including the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, tax cuts for middle class Americans, and enacting legislation that ensures unemployed Americans have the security they deserve.

Here in Indiana, Democrats have been crucial in protecting our state’s education system from drastic budget cuts and holding Governor Daniels accountable for the lack of private sector job growth in our state.

While the results of November’s election were not as positive as our legislative successes, we should use this holiday season to reflect on what we achieved and start preparing for the next election. As we turn our eyes toward the future, there are several signs that point to our Party being well placed to achieve gains in municipal elections across Indiana and build a strong foundation for our federal candidates in 2012.

This is where your financial support makes our future success a possibility.

There is no question we have more work to do – both for Indiana families and for our nation. But what's clear from the efforts of Democrats across the state in the last year is that we remain committed to growing and strengthening our party – and that your work is crucial to making a lasting difference.

Your passion and resolve is what carried us through tough times in the past. It's this same sense of determination that will carry us through future fights and more historic improvements for Hoosiers and our communities – in the New Year and beyond. Please enjoy your time with family, friends and neighbors during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Daniel J. Parker

Monday, December 20, 2010

Draw districts that respect communities of interest

Written by
Dave Crooks and Bill Ruppel

When the Indiana General Assembly last drew maps for congressional and state legislative districts in 2001, the public had limited opportunities to impact the process. Legislative mapmakers held a few sparsely attended public hearings and a computer was available at the State Library in Indianapolis if people wanted to try their hand at map drawing with a more limited data set than lawmakers had access to.

For the most part, redistricting was carried out behind closed doors under a curtain of fierce incumbent protection and intense partisanship.
The result has been a decade of elections where the majority of races are decided not by voters but by where the district lines fall. Half of the current state legislative districts favor one party by more than 30 percent. This has led to 40 percent of candidates for the General Assembly running without major party opposition. It is no wonder that voters are frustrated with such limited choices.

As former state legislators, we have seen redistricting firsthand and can testify that partisan interests greatly outweigh any other principle.
Forget compact districts that respect communities of interest and encourage competition; it's all about making sure the majority party keeps its edge and current lawmakers keep the voters they want and get rid of those they cannot count on. It is the ultimate conflict of interest, and it is time for a change.
The good news is that several statewide citizens groups are not waiting on the General Assembly to reform redistricting. AARP Indiana, Common Cause/Indiana and the League of Women Voters of Indiana are forming the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission that will bird dog the legislative redistricting process, hold public hearings across the state to generate public discussion and sponsor a map-drawing competition. We are proud to serve as co-chairs of the commission.

The ICRC will be composed of Hoosiers who are representative of the voters in our state. They will come from communities across Indiana and include racial and ethnic minorities and a variety of political ideologies. The one thing they have in common is a desire for a map-drawing process that is less dominated by partisan interests and that results in fair districts that respect the Voting Rights Act and promote accountability and competitive elections.

The ICRC will monitor the legislative redistricting process by analyzing the maps proposed by the Indiana House and Senate and draw attention to those districts we believe are gerrymandered. But, the ICRC won't just point the finger at the districts drawn to gain political advantage. We will sponsor a map drawing competition to provide a yardstick to see how the legislature's maps compare to those drawn by neutral parties.

We will make available to any interested citizen District Builder, an open-source software redistricting application designed to give the public transparent, accessible and easy-to-use online mapping tools. Citizens will submit their proposals to the ICRC where they will be judged according to how well they meet criteria such as compactness, competitiveness and incorporation of communities of interest. We will pick the best set of maps and submit them to the General Assembly.

While the Citizens Commission won't have any official role in the process, we believe it will provide a new level of transparency and public participation that can pressure the General Assembly to put the interests of citizens above their own. And it will demonstrate how an independent redistricting commission would work, making passage of legislation to create such a commission more likely.

Hoosiers have the tools to make the next set of legislative maps more equitable and less partisan. Working together, we can draw the line on gerrymandering. For more information about the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission see

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stutzman misses his first vote

Niki Kelly and Benjamin Lanka | The Journal Gazette
Peaks and valleys aptly describes the week Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, had.

At the beginning of the week, it was a thrill to attend the White House gala in a tuxedo with his wife, Christy, who wore a gorgeous one-shoulder white gown with a red ribbon sash.

POTUS and FLOTUS were “very gracious” hosts, Stutzman reported.

But by the end of the week, Stutzman had made a boo-boo that nabs every member of Congress sooner or later: He missed a vote because he turned off his BlackBerry. He was meeting with friends from Indianapolis who were in Washington to attend a fundraiser for Rep. Mike Pence, R-6th. The event was hosted by political commentator Oliver North, who was at the center of the 1980s Iran-control political scandal.

“My bad,” Stutzman said of being recorded as “not voting” on legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status for children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents who were in the country illegally. For the record, Stutzman would have voted against the bill, which the tea party lobbied heavily to kill.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

City lands 2012 state convention

Democratic event worth $400,000
Benjamin Lanka | The Journal Gazette
A concerted effort by local Democrats will bring the state party’s convention to the Summit City in the summer of 2012.

Dan Parker, Indiana Democratic Party chairman, announced Tuesday the convention will be held June 15 to 17, 2012, at Grand Wayne Center downtown.

He said the efforts of Mayor Tom Henry and Carmen Darland, 3rd District Democratic Party chairwoman, were instrumental in bringing the event to a site other than Indianapolis for the first time since early last century.

“Fort Wayne’s effort on this was really remarkable,” Parker said after showing a handful of letters and e-mails he received from local Democrats and businesses supporting the effort.

Darland said the idea to hold the convention in Fort Wayne was hatched at a lunch with the mayor and his wife, Cindy, in February. It was presented to the state party in May, and a majority of the delegates of this year’s convention supported the idea of looking outside Indianapolis. Parker said Fort Wayne and Indianapolis were the only two cities to meet the group’s criteria, and Fort Wayne was chosen overwhelmingly in a vote Saturday.

Parker said the newly opened Courtyard by Marriott downtown was critical to the group’s requirement for hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention center. He added the support by Henry, a Democrat, was overwhelming. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is a Republican.

Henry said the event will bring state and local attention to Fort Wayne, as well as give thousands of people an opportunity to visit since the opening of much of Harrison Square. He said politics aside, the event will be a boon for the local economy.

“I would encourage the state Republican Party to consider us as well,” he said.

Dan O’Connell, director of Visit Fort Wayne, said the event will draw between 2,000 and 2,500 guests and pump up to $400,000 into the local economy. He said the community did not have to provide financial incentives to land the convention.

O’Connell said he already has begun discussions with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Embassy Theatre and Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo to have special events for the guests.

Friday, December 10, 2010

WCCS ponders joining small-school resolution

WCCS ponders joining small-school resolutionDecember 10, 2010
ByPhil Smith
COLUMBIA CITY — At Monday’s work session of the Whitley Consolidated School Corporation, Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor and corporation Business Manager Tony Zickgraf presented a document to the board that was drafted by the John Glenn School Corporation.
The document — a call out to the Indiana Legislature.
The Walkerton-based school corporation drafted a resolution to Indiana lawmakers and sent letters to WCCS and other districts around the state.
In the letter, the John Glenn board wrote “As you may already know, the John Glenn School Corporation Board of School Trustees has taken issue with the discrepancy among districts in per-student funding.
“We feel this, among other issues, needs to be addressed. We have constructed a draft resolution to take to the legislature before they convene next session.”
The school officials from Walkerton are seeking a coalition of 50 school districts to sign the resolution before sending it off to Indianapolis.
“We would appreciate your participation in preparing the ‘final product’ and invite you to sign the resolution,” said the letter to WCCS.
“I think the purpose of the resolution is to educate our legislature,” said O’Connor, saying school officials hope to convince the lawmakers that “one size doesn’t fit all. I think we’re just asking the legislature to consider the smaller districts when decisions are being made.”
In the budget for 2010, the state cut school funding across the board and O’Connor told the board that WCCS’s “per-student” cuts were heavier than some districts. The intent of the proposed pact among school corporations is to call on the legislature to remove that funding disparity.
John Glenn’s letter and resolution also referred to the state’s funding formula as “complicated and outdated.”
The board discussed the possibility of signing the resolution.
“The squeaky wheel gets the oil,” said board member Tim Bloom.
“Every school’s saying they’re not getting their fair share and I don’t envy the legislature,” said Zickgraf.
In late 2009, reports said Indiana schools lost $297 million in 2010.
The new legislature meets Jan. 5 and local residents Jim Banks (Senate) and Kathy Heuer (House of Representatives) will begin freshman terms in their respective branches. Coincidently, both members will serve on education committees.
After discussing the petition by John Glenn, WCCS Board President Don Armstrong said the board should consider the issue before the next meeting Dec. 20.
“I want to think about it,” said Armstrong. “But I also want to think about education in general. We can vote our hearts if we make it an action item.”
“I think it is a show of solidarity,” said O’Connor, “but not in an offensive way, but more in a ‘yoo-hoo, we’re small, but we’re out here’ way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not ready for that 'adult conversation' on debt?

We have started an adult conversation that will dominate the debate until the elected leadership here in Washington does something real.”

So claimed Erskine Bowles, co-chairman (along with former Sen. Alan Simpson) of President Barack Obama’s commission on federal deficits and debt, last week.

The feeling that Americans and their representatives in Congress were ready for serious “adult” work on reducing deficits and debt lasted about three days, from last Friday’s final fiscal commission meeting to Monday’s announcement by Obama of a $900 billion accord with congressional Republicans to extend tax cuts and embark on a round of new spending.

"I'm deeply disappointed that we have this short-term deal and it's not linked to long-term fiscal restraint," Bowles said Wednesday.

On Thursday morning after he and Simpson met at the White House with Budget Director Jack Lew and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, they issued a statement calling on Obama to launch negotiations with congressional leaders from both parties "on the critical next step of establishing a serious fiscal responsibility plan" and to unveil his own deficit cutting proposals in his State of the Union address, building on the ones in last week's Bowles-Simpson report.

Long-term debt problem
The long-term budget prospects remain as stark as they were before Obama announced his deal with the GOP leaders.

Top politics news Key vote on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' repeal fails
A key procedural vote on the bill containing a repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy failed Thursday, likely dealing a final blow to advocates who hoped to overturn the 17-year old ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military during this session of Congress.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ten-year budget forecast is for continued budget shortfalls, extraordinarily high national debt (compared to previous decades), and higher interest payments to service that debt — to the point that CBO predicts that by 2016 interest payments will be larger than military spending.

When debt service exceeds military spending, says Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, it has historically been the tipping point where a great empire or nation ceases being great.

Why did the feeling that America was ready for serious debt reduction evaporate so quickly?

One reason may be that members of Congress don’t believe that the United States could suffer a sovereign debt crisis as Greece and Ireland are undergoing.

“I think it’s true that a number of people just don’t buy it, because we still are different than Greece and Ireland,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“They can’t believe that the debt problems could actually come here," she said. "I think a number of other people think, ‘maybe I do buy it but it isn’t worth the sacrifice of actually changing things.’ But I think most people don’t quite buy it — and the worrying thing is that people who buy it the most are the financial people, the people who are managing money.”

Stopping momentum for debt reduction
MacGuineas said the tax and spending deal that Obama announced Monday night did seem “surreal” coming as it did on the heels of the Bowles-Simpson plan. “It stops the momentum that we should have started last week with the Bowles-Simpson plan.”

But she remains optimistic. She compared the accord with a smoker who is on the verge of quitting smoking. “You smoke an extra cigarette just before you have to give it up. I really do think this is the last major deficit-financed bonanza that we’re going to see.”

She pointed to fact that a conservative member of the Bowles-Simpson panel, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and a liberal Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, both voted for the plan. (It got 11 votes, three shy of what was needed to officially forward its recommendations to Congress.)

Coburn took a jab at his own party Wednesday when he denounced as "political cynicism" a statement by Dan Bartlett, a former staffer for President George W. Bush, who said the 2001 tax cut was designed as a "trap" so that it "becomes almost impossible to remove it."

Coburn has hinted he might vote against the deal Obama negotiated with GOP leaders and urged his colleagues to debate a plan to cut the deficit.

"We are going to have a major liquidity crisis, and we are also going to have a major interest rate crisis," he said Wednesday. "Nobody knows when it comes."

Economic historians and members of the president’s fiscal commission do believe a sovereign debt crisis is feasible, or at least that the United States will suffer many years of anemic growth and high unemployment.

Federal government debt is approaching that level. Using a different measure — total debt for all levels of government — U.S. gross debt is at 93 percent of GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund. (Compare that with Greece at 130 percent of GDP and Ireland at 99 percent of GDP.)

Wolf at our door?
Making the analogy between hostile bond markets and a wolf, Reinhart also warned that “We never know when the wolf will be down (at) our door. The wolf is very fickle and markets can turn very quickly. And a high debt level makes us very vulnerable to shifts in sentiments that we cannot predict.”

In a debt crisis, in order to persuade bond buyers to keep buying Treasury bonds, Congress would be forced to cut spending and raise taxes.

The commission member who put that scenario most clearly was a non-politician, Honeywell chief executive David Cote: “These difficult political decisions will get made one of two ways. The first is we can do it thoughtfully and proactively. The second is we can wait for the bond market to force it upon us, and that will be decidedly harder, more abrupt and unpleasant. We can ask Greece and Ireland what that's like, and soon Italy, Spain and Portugal.”

He added that Americans ought to wonder, "What happens when the bank — in this case foreign countries like China — doesn't want to loan you any more money?"

Of course, the alternative to raising revenues through borrowing is raising them through higher taxes. But one reason Obama is not likely to get Republicans to agree to that is their memories of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush agreeing to tax increases in 1982 and 1990.
“If I believed that the increased revenue would actually be used for deficit reduction, you know, I might reluctantly come to the table, in a global agreement," said panel member Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas last week, before voting against the debt commission's recommendations.
Hensarling said when he recalls Reagan's agreement to raise taxes in 1982 and Bush’s reversal on taxes in 1990, “It just seems to me that somehow the spending restraint never quite materializes, and yet the increased revenues do, and it seems like the increased revenues simply chase the spending.”
It's Obama in the Oval Office now, not Bush or Reagan, but it is the familiar tug of war between Republicans and Democrats over cutting taxes versus cutting spending.
Obama’s statement at Tuesday's press conference implied that in some areas federal spending may not be big enough.
“What are we doing to revamp our schools to make sure our kids can compete?” he asked. “What are we doing in terms of research and development to make sure that innovation is still taking place here in the United States of America? What are we doing about our infrastructure so that we have the best airports and the best roads and the best bridges?”
He sounded confident he will win the debate with Republicans — forcing them to agree to tax increases because they'll find out once they start running the House of Representatives that spending cuts would be, as he said Tuesday, “very painful.”
Putting on his hat as campaign strategist, Obama said, “Either they rethink their position, or I don’t think they’re going to do very well in 2012.”
He said, “The fact of the matter is the American people already agree with me.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

State, public differ on schools

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers pointed to creating jobs and upgrading K-12 education as top priorities for the state legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011, according to a new public opinion survey released Thursday from Ball State University.

The polling contradicts the agenda of Daniels and House and Senate Republicans on several specific education policies.

The poll was unveiled at the 2011 Legislative Conference in Indianapolis, where Daniels also delivered the keynote speech.

In the Ball State survey, 45 percent of Hoosiers said schools in communities that face the greatest obstacles to learning should receive more money than schools in communities that are experiencing the greatest growth.

About 14 percent of the Hoosiers surveyed believe that both types of schools should receive equal funding.

Daniels and key Republicans are pushing for funding to be based solely on a district’s number of students, rather than extra money going to some urban and declining-enrollment schools facing high levels of poverty.

The governor said Thursday that the system is currently set up to aid poorer schools, but he said that the disparity has become a concern.

“That makes less sense to me, and we’ve been moving away from that,” he said. “It clearly penalizes schools with population growth.”

The Ball State survey also noted that Hoosiers believe more parental involvement would make more of a difference in education than would other changes, such as paying teachers more.

Daniels said he can’t pass a law requiring parental involvement and “it would be a complete non-sequitur to say because too many parents don’t do enough, we just forget these other changes.”

He said studies show teacher quality is the major factor behind student performance, and when good teachers are identified, “I’m for paying them more.”

Another difference is that Daniels wants to expand the number of charter schools. But those surveyed, by a 2-to-1 margin, prefer to support current schools rather than create more charter schools.

Daniels also used his speech to tell the lobbyists, lawyers, school officials and media in attendance that state tax revenue was up slightly in November and that he expects to balance the next biennial budget without a tax increase.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Anti-earmark Tea Party Caucus takes $1 billion in earmarks

By Reid Wilson
National Journal

Members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus may tout their commitment to cutting government spending now, but they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget.

According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.

"It's disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt," said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. "There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."

In founding the caucus in July, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she was giving voice to Americans who were sick of government overspending.

[How do deficit-cutters sell the U.S. on pain?]

"The American people are speaking out loud and clear. They have had enough of the spending, the bureaucracy, and the government-knows-best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress," Bachmann said in a July 15 statement. The group, she wrote in a letter to House Administration Committee chairman Bob Brady, "will serve as an informal group of Members dedicated to promote Americans' call for fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government."

Bachmann and 13 of her Tea Party Caucus colleagues did not request any earmarks in the last Fiscal Year, according to CAGW's annual Congressional Pig Book. But others have requested millions of dollars in special projects.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), for one, attached his name to 69 earmarks in the last fiscal year, for a total of $78,263,000. The 41 earmarks Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) requested were worth $65,395,000. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) wanted $63,400,000 for 39 special projects, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) wanted $93,980,000 set aside for 47 projects.

[With jobs at issue, what is Washington doing?]

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) takes the prize as the tea partier with his name on the most earmarks. Rehberg's office requested funding for 88 projects, either solely or by co-signing earmark requests with Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D), at a cost of $100,514,200. On his own, Rehberg requested 20 earmarks valued at more than $9.6 million.

More than one member can sign onto an earmark. Still, there are 29 caucus members who requested on their own or joined requests for more than $10 million in earmark funding, and seven who wanted more than $50 million in funding.

Most offices did not respond right away to a request for comment. Those that did said they supported Republicans' new efforts to ban earmarks.

[Will Obama's winning campaign plan be used against him in 2012?]

Alexander, for one, "stands with his fellow Republicans in the House in supporting the current earmark ban. Since joining the Tea Party Caucus in July, he has not submitted any earmark requests and has withdrawn his outstanding requests that were included in the most recent Water Resources Development Act," said Jamie Hanks, his communications director.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), who requested 25 earmarks in the last Fiscal Year at a total cost of just over $80 million, has agreed to abide by the Republican earmark ban, according to spokesman Adam Buckalew. "He supported the moratorium and the prohibition adopted recently by the Conference on House earmarks for the 112th Congress," Buckalew said of Harper.

"It's easy to be a member of the TEA Party Caucus because, like them, I agree that we're Taxed Enough Already and we've got to balance the budget by cutting spending instead of raising taxes. Deficit spending is not new, but the unprecedented rate of spending in Congress is," Rehberg said in a statement emailed by his office. "Montanans have tightened their belts, and it's way past time for Congress to follow their lead. The TEA Party Caucus is about listening to concerned Americans who want to fundamentally change how Congress spends their tax dollars. On that, we're in total agreement."

[For America's 10 wealthiest Congressional Districts, it will be more happy holidays]

Bachmann's office did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment.

Still, some Republicans -- albeit none who belong to the Tea Party Caucus -- have said they will not abide by the voluntary earmark ban. And, said CAGW's Williams, the anti-spending organization isn't waiting with baited breath.

"Seeing is believing. It's going to take a lot more than rhetoric to convince us," he said.

A list of Tea Party Caucus members and their earmark requests in Fiscal Year 2010, courtesy of Citizens Against Government Waste's Pig Book:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tracking fee to increase on city electric bills

ByRuth Stanley
COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City residents, and those who get their electricity from Columbia City utilities, will see their rates go up for the first quarter of the new year.
The monthly tracking fee will increase by 74 cents per 1,000 kilowatt hours. For the average residential customer, the rate will change by approximately 52 cents.
The tracking fee is a pass-through fee used by the city to cover the cost charged to the city by Indiana Municipal Power Agency.
As IMPA adjusts its rates for electricity sold to the city, the city adjusts the tracking fee to cover the increase or decrease, said Rosie Coyle, clerk treasurer.
According to Coyle, most residential customers use approximately 700 kilowatt hours resulting the 52 cent increase. Those who use more or less will see the tracking fee adjusted accordingly