Tools

Gibson EMC Considers Purchasing Trenton Utilities

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

Gibson Electric is considering a purchase of Trenton Light & Water, and it is starting a study next week to see how much the utility is worth. But Trenton city leaders said they are still split on whether they want the purchase to even happen.

The aldermen likely will not know how they will vote - if at all - once the study is done in a few months.

Trenton Mayor Tony Burriss said it is a Catch 22.

"We don't really want to give up control of our utilities in the city of Trenton, but yet we don't want to see Gibson Electric move to another area," Burriss said.

He said he is worried how selling Trenton's utility will impact residents.

If it happens, he said residents' rates would go up, costs for street lighting would increase, and water and sewer rates would also increase. And the city would likely have to raise property taxes to cover the costs.

"We're going to lose some taxes in lieu of taxes that we now collect from Trenton Light and Water that we wouldn't collect in the same amount from Gibson Electric," Burriss said.

Gibson Electric officials said to combat the increase, they are proposing to freeze residential rates for four years.

"While we make service rehability improvements in the community, and then at that time, move the rates gradually up to our rates over the next six-year period," said Dan Rodamaker, the President/CEO of Gibson Electric.

If they cannot purchase Trenton Light and Water, Gibson Electric will likely move outside of Trenton, but city leaders do not want to see them leave.

"For the taxes they do pay to the city and to the school district and plus, I think there's 50 to 60 employees that come into Trenton every day that possibly would spend money here," Burriss said.

"The taxes that we pay should benefit the members that we serve," Rodamaker said.

Gibson Electric officials said if they can purchase the Trenton utility, no one would lose their jobs. But in the end, they hope the final decision will be up to Trenton residents in a referendum vote in November.