GLENDALE—On Tuesday, the Glendale City Council held a meeting regarding a proposed thirty percent electrical rate increase within the next five years for Glendale Water and Power customers.
The Armenian National Committee of America Glendale Chapter, along with more than 150 community members, business owners, and representatives of various community organizations attended in order to demonstrate their opposition to the recommended plan of an 8% increase in 2013, a 7% increase in 2014, a 5% increase in 2015, and 2% increases in both 2016 and 2017. Councilmembers Ara Najarian and Laura Friedman, along with Mayor Weaver made comments in support of the plan while Councilmembers Zareh Sinanyan and Frank Quintero were adamantly against it.
Within mere minutes of the gathering’s commencement Mayor Weaver collected oral communication cards, and stated he would no longer accept any more speakers. Due to Weaver’s unwillingness to accept any more oral communication cards, only about thirty individuals were allotted two minutes each in speaking time. After thirty speakers, the general consensus was the following: the rates are too high and City Council should consider alternatives.
“Most of the community feels that more moderate rates should be considered, as suggested by two of the Councilmembers,” stated ANCA Glendale Executive Director Talar Malakian. “After surveying over six hundred people and collecting over six hundred signatures against the proposed rates, we have formulated a list of alternatives that may lessen the increases, such as a cut to the amount of money transferred from Glendale Water and Power to the City’s General Fund. Another possibility is to lower the reserve requirement for Glendale Water and Power. A third option is to authorize a 40 million dollar bond, instead of a 60 million dollar bond. There are options, but it seems that some on the dais do not want to consider even looking at them.”
When oral commentary was finished, City Staff, Mayor Weaver and City Councilmember Laura Friedman echoed that the rate increases were necessary to get Glendale Water and Power back on track with regards to reaching the $114 million in reserves of the $124 million amount set by Council, meeting state mandates and also completing capital improvements. Councilmember Quintero suggested an alternative 3 to 4% increase instead and felt that other options should be heavily considered, while the needs of the utility should be prioritized.
Councilmember Ara Najarian will introduce the proposal to increase the rates by 8% in 2013, 7%, 5%, 2%, and 2% through 2018, for a vote during next week’s city council meeting, which will take place Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 6:00pm at Glendale City Hall (613 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206).
ANCA Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.