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TOWN UTILITIES: Columbia City approves IURC withdrawal

March 27, 2013

COLUMBIA CITY — First steps were taken to withdraw Columbia City’s electric and water utilities from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

The respective ordinances passed unanimously on the first readings. The second reading of each ordinance will be at the Tuesday, April 9 meeting of the council, along with a public hearing.

On hand to speak to the council was Buzz Krohn of O.W. Krohn, a firm that advises for electric and water utilities. He said the city’s desire to withdraw from the IURC was not negative on the regulatory commission.

“The IURC does a great job (with for-profit utilities),” he said. “For us, it is a bureaucratic expense and the cost is not worth the benefit.”

In summary, Krohn said if the withdrawal was successful, there would be more accountability on the local level.

“If we opt out of the IURC then the buck stops here,” he said.

One citizen was at the meeting to offer public comment. Dick Goodwin, who is a member of the Whitley County Patriots, said many residents were concerned about the potential loss of oversight on the state level.

“We’re totally fed up and scared to death from Washington D.C. all the way to local level (with politics),” he said. “You are representatives and you’re doing a good job, but to the general public, please be crystal clear with them, make them understand why you are doing what you’re doing.”

Councilman Jacie Worrick asked Goodwin if he and the people he spoke with would be more comfortable speaking with politicians on a local level or to someone in Indianapolis.

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