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Council Approves Rocky Mountain Power Franchise Fee Hike Again

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

Casper City Council approved, on second reading, an ordinance that will raise Rocky Mountain Power franchise fees for Casper residents to help defray costs for future line extensions.

The ordinance passed 7-2 on Tuesday night, picking up another “no” vote from Ward I councilman Daniel Sandoval. Council passed the first reading of the ordinance 7-1 on July 2.

Sandoval says he agrees with fellow Ward I councilman Keith Goodenough, saying that the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance’s parent company is sitting on money that could be used for line extensions and should foot the bill instead.

“There are other sources of funding for development,” Sandoval said. “There’s something when you’re raising money for no apparent reason, just to make sure that you have the money – you shouldn’t be making that decision, because it impacts everybody.”

Goodenough also voted against the increase on Tuesday.

Mayor Kenyne Schlager, who voted in favor of the increase, says the city must bolster its infrastructure to attract new businesses.

“This will help provide a funding stream to put in the infrastructure that needs to be put in place to attract those businesses.” Schlager said. “We’re going to make a little bit of an investment, but the return is going to be much better.”

If approved, most Casper-based Rocky Mountain Power residential customers would pay an additional 76 cents a month. The increase would raise an additional $474,000 a year.

The ordinance must pass one final reading before it can be approved and adopted.

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