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Councilors Approve Rocky Mountain Power Franchise Fee Hike

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

Casper residents may soon notice an increase of about 76 cents in their future electric bills.

Casper City Council approved, on third reading, an ordinance that will raise Rocky Mountain Power franchise fees by one percent for residential customers in Casper. The funds generated from the increased fee would then be used to help defray line extension costs for new Casper businesses.

Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says the additional funds will aid economic development.

“What this is really about is attracting those companies that have high-paying jobs for our community,” Schlager said. “What would make Casper more appealing for them is to have this infrastructure in place and a way to accomplish that is through this avenue.”

Schlager, along with councilmen Paul Meyer, Paul Bertoglio, Craig Hedquist, Bob Hopkins and Charlie Powell passed the increase by a 6-3 margin.

Councilmen Keith Goodenough, Daniel Sandoval and Steve Cathey voted against the rate hike. Cathey, the newest dissenting vote, says the burden should be placed on incoming businesses and not Casper residents.

“If you’re going to come out and develop an area, you should be able to put in your own power lines,” Cathey said.

Cathey voted in favor of the increase on July 2 and July 16. Sandoval voted in favor of the increase on July 2.

City manager John Patterson says the increased fee should generate an additional $474,000 a year.

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