The special meeting was recessed and a Public Hearing was called to order at 5:34 p.m. by Mayor Nugent for the purpose of receiving questions and/or comments regarding the rate increase application submitted by Texas Gas Service (TGS).
Andre' Wimer, City Manager, stated that this is a Joint Public Hearing with the Cities of Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves. Mr. Wimer added that he believes a fair compromise may have been reached between the Cities and TGS.
Danny White, Texas Gas Service, stated that they filed the rate increase application in the amount of $2.4 million because of the amount of capital placed in the ground to upgrade their system. Mr. White thanked his employees and the three cities for their continued good working relationship. He stated that he would let the rate consultants go into more detail regarding the rate increase.
Dan Lawton, Lawton Law Firm, and Jack Pous, P & L Concepts, Inc., explained that they represent the area cities on the rate request. They briefly reviewed the Texas Gas Service rate increase application. The original rate request would amount to an increase of approximately a $6.00 per customer per month. They added that if the cities and TGS are unable to reach an agreement the case will go before the Texas Railroad Commission. Mr. Lawton added that in going through the application he is of the opinion that the cities and TGS will be able to reach an agreement.
Mr. Pous announced that TGS has agreed to reduce their rate increase amount to $1.6 million, which would amount to approximately $4.00 per customer per month. Mr. Lawton and Mr. Pous believe this is an acceptable agreement and will recommend that all three cities approve the revised rate increase at their next regular Council meetings. They stated that since the last rate increase was approved TGS has done a tremendous amount of work on their lines, therefore, their analysis showed that there were some legitimate reasons to approve an increase. The compromise is a reasonable and fair request. TGS has agreed to pay all costs involved in the process, including those of the rate consultants.
Mr. Wimer stated that the Cities of Nederland, Port Neches, and Groves will place this item on their respective agendas.
Mayor Nugent thanked everyone for attending the Public Hearing. There being no further questions and/or comments the Public Hearing was adjourned at 5:47 p.m. by Mayor Nugent.