Bowie city leaders are still at odds over an electrical rate ordinance that will almost double the distribution and wire charge for small businesses.
Back in 2018, the previous Bowie city council decided on an ordinance that would change the distribution and wires charge for small businesses from .0470 kilowatts per hour, that was set in 2015, to .08230 kilowatts per hour and the billing for this started on Dec. 1, 2018. But there’s one problem, City Councilor East Precinct 3 Tami Buckmaster said it was never voted on.
“They decided to do that but they failed to do an ordinance that would change that and make it the law that those rates changed. I told them then that they were messing up and after I was put on the council I contacted the city attorney and went over some stuff with her,” Buckmaster said.
City Manager Bert Cunningham said the reason the ordinance is being talked about again is more of a clerical issue.
“There were some calculations in the ordinance that wasn’t quite correct and we just redid it to make those calculations the same,” Cunningham said.
The council voted on the ordinance during the last meeting and it ended with a split vote with Mayor Gaylynn Burris being the deciding vote. After she voted yes, it is now sent to a final vote during the next meeting. But one local small business owner is not happy.
“That ordinance is being put into place to cover what they’ve been doing wrong for a long time. They are trying to backdate an ordinance to cover their changes. They are doubling businesses like my business falls in that category all small commercial accounts are being doubled what the ordinance says now,” The Rack Pub & Eatery owner Tawni Jones said.
Cunningham isn’t sure if there ever will be a solution to the electrical rates problem but he said he will keep working to find one.
“We are working hard to keep the electric rates low. We have a really good relationship with our wholesale electric provider and we are constantly working with them. Constantly looking for ways to save money,” Cunningham said.
In the end, Buckmaster hopes a solution will finally be found, one that’s cheaper for small business owners.
The next city council meeting will be on March 11, 2019.