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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

August 1, 2012

Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 11:46 AM

"God, it was hot!" "Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken." Thank you, Rachel Caine, and I believe that quote describes our July heat in Malden.

We celebrated the Fourth of July without any public fireworks display. Lack of enough financial contributions was the cause. Our fire chief banned burning, but we still allowed individual fireworks. There may have been some fires caused by the fireworks, and some fool allegedly shot some large rockets at two of our police officers. The city council met on July 16th and voted four to three to ban the sale and use of fireworks inside the Malden city limits. I vetoed the proposed ordinance.

There is a very strong case for making the sale and use of fireworks illegal. I think if we pass a law, there should be some reasonable expectation that the law can be effective. Malden, in years past, did make the sale of fireworks illegal. I'm not sure if their use was illegal. I don't recall that the past law resulted in any diminution of the explosion of gunpowder. I, and my cohorts, shot off a lot of it. The current law, if it were enforced to the hilt, would stop many of the "problems" associated with our nation's birthday celebration. We would also alienate our Founding Fathers because we would more than likely have to quarter troops in our homes to have enough manpower. A complete ban would probably require the Missouri National Guard. The most serious event involving fireworks was a fool shooting some at the police. Anyone who does anything to endanger or assault a law officer should be jugged regardless of his choice of weapon, and we have laws on the books at both the local and state level to cover those situations.

The incredible heat we have experienced along with the record setting drought have had a much more direct impact than the fireworks. Aside from the effect of the heat on agriculture, health, and outside activity there is a vicious blow to everyone's pocketbook in the form of higher utility bills. I have received several telephone calls from people asking about their electrical bills from the Malden Board of Public Works. The calls fall into two general categories. People want to know why their bill is so high and some ask for assistance in paying their bill.

The best answer to the first question is that the brutal heat results in more usage. The BPW rates have been stable, but our electric meters are whirring. I checked my usage between this past month and the same period a year ago, and I consumed sixty percent more electricity this year. The electric portion of my bill is up by the same amount. This is not cold comfort.

The BPW works hard to keep our local cost as low as possible. The cost of power purchased (Malden's electric bill) is their single largest expense. The total expenses of the electric department of the BPW are $5,339,435.83 year to date. The BPW is still waiting for $449,000 in reimbursements from the state and federal government relating to the 2009 ice storm. The Malden BPW meets on the last Tuesday of every month at 5:00 P.M. at the BPW building on East Laclede Street. The meetings are open to the public. Please attend if you have any questions. If you have questions and can't make the meeting, call and I will attempt to give you an answer.

If you have trouble paying your bill there is not a lot of help available. The BPW offers a payment plan and the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation (DAEOC) gives some assistance. The BPW follows the rules of the Missouri Public Service Commission regarding disconnect for failure to pay. There is a sincere attempt made not to disconnect anyone during temperature extremes. The bottom line is as always the "bottom line." Unpaid utility bills are a significant expense for our locally owned municipal utility company.

The financial report for the City of Malden is as follows:

July 20, 2012

Balance $1,348,844.63

Revenues $130,990.09
Expenses $137,398.82
July 27, 2012

Balance $1,342,435.90



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