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Thursday, 07 April 2011 10:12

City-owned Light and Power has its advantages

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By John R. Statton — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer is electric when talking about the advantages of the City-owned Light and Power utility.

When SaskPower was buying out the power utility from other communities in the province, Swift Current and Saskatoon kept its own.

“By offering their residents and businesses the exact same power rates as what you would get as a SaskPower customer — so there’s no extra cost —we’re able to subsidize our operating revenues significantly,” said Schafer.
“It’s a situation that every other Saskatchewan city would give their eyetooth to be in.”

A portion of that revenue goes to fund capital maintenance expenditures for the City of Swift Current.

“Part of the reason are parks, and our pathway is in such great shape, is because of that revenue,” said Schafer.
“If we were a SaskPower customer that money would just go directly to them.”

The profit margin benefits the city by enhancing the services and facilities within Swift Current.

“It allows us to offer the level of service and have the facilities that we’ve got, while still maintaining low property tax,” said Schafer.
“In this case, I think the clear advantage is that we would be paying it anyway, but the difference is that the profits stay and benefit our community.”

The City is looking to increase public consultations within Swift Current.

“We’re going to be looking at some public consultations with regards to the integrated facility,” said Schafer.
“The partners will be coming together in April, and the City will begin consulting with the public this summer.”

The City will also meet with downtown business and property owners to discuss concepts, which will shape the core in the coming years.

“We’ve got our centennial coming up in 2014, and I think a vibrant downtown core is something that we want to make sure we have as a city,” he said.

“My vision of Swift Current is to be a small version of a big city, rather than a big version of a small town: so have all the amenities and the felling of a big city, with of course the neighborly-ness, friendliness, and safety of a small town.”

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