MAYOR GRISWOLD OPEN LETTER TO FAIRFIELD RESIDENTS
February 6, 2014
To the residents of the city of Fairfield:
This week a group of vocal citizens has expressed concern about their most recent utility bills, some in positive ways and others not so positive. Because there has been a lot of misinformation being presented as facts, I feel that it is necessary to set the record straight.
Here are the indisputable facts that can be verified:
First, the last rate increase on both gas and electricity was on March 1, 2011. This means that the city of Fairfield has not increased its margin on both of these utilities in almost three years.
Second, in the last 12 months, the city’s cost for gas has gone up less than two percent, while our cost for electricity has gone up less than seven percent. Even though these increases have been passed along, we did not make any more money by doing this. In fact, the city’s margin is less now than it was almost three years ago because of the increased cost of wages, health insurance, liability insurance, and many others expenses we incur.
Finally, in December 2013, 25 of 31 days were colder than in December 2012, and in January 2014, 19 of 31 days were colder than in January 2013. In addition, temperatures fell below freezing on 29 of 31 days in January 2014 and below 20 degrees on 19 of 31 days. There was a new record low of -8 on January 6, with below zero temperatures on three different days. We have had some of the coldest weather in 25 years in the January just ended.
A review of the utility bills of some of the more outspoken Facebook protesters revealed that in several cases, their usage of gas and/or electricity had doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled, which naturally resulted in higher utility bills. It is hard to understand how they find the city responsible for this.
Another of the protesters no longer lives in Fairfield but still owes on his last city utility bill, and still another had almost identical combined usage and charges for gas and electricity on his February bill as on his January bill. Again, it is hard to understand why they’re angry at the city.
On the other hand, many of our customers have been encouraging when they come to City Hall to pay their bills, and others have expressed gratitude through phone calls and emails that they have city water, electricity, and gas rather than propane. One person even brought us cookies. All of us at City Hall very much appreciate these kind words and actions.
We will continue to serve all our citizens to the best of our ability, and we are grateful to those of you who recognize that. To the others who have made false accusations against the city’s government, we simply remind you that we can’t control the weather.
Finally, I emphasize that my door is always open to all citizens for meaningful discussions. Please feel free to express your concerns to me so I can deal with them directly rather than first bringing them to the attention of out-of-town media, thus delaying resolution to your problems. This week an unnecessary picket brought unwelcome attention to a matter that was clearly beyond the city of Fairfield’s control, as Mother Nature answers to no one.
Chuck Griswold, Mayor
29-year-old Aaron J. Reckelhoff of Evansville was seriously injured Wednesday when the truck he was driving ran off of I-64 in western Wayne County and struck a tree. He was taken to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Mount Vernon following the 7:45 a.m. crash.
St. Louis-based Baldwin Technology, Inc. has acquired Web Printing Controls in Fairfield. Officials with Baldwin report the 35 employees at Web Printing will be retained. Baldwin Technology is a portfolio company of Fosyth Capital Investors of St. Louis.
CVS Caremark will no longer sell tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide. Officials say they will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1.
29-year-old Ashley Uze of Harrisburg has been sentenced to one year in prison on a conviction of deceptive practice. White County State’s Attorney Denton Aud reports Uze entered the plea Wednesday. She will also have to serve a year of parole once she is out of prison.
Frontier Community College’s Student Nurses’ Association will sponsor a blood drive next Monday, Feb. 10 from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. The Red Cross Bus will be parked in front of the Classroom West building.
Amber Lane has been named the Employee of the Year at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. Lane works in the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. She lives in Fairfield and has been employed at Fairfield Memorial Hospital for six years and currently works as a Technologist in the Diagnostic Imaging Department.