Mt. Vernon Register-News


January 15, 2014

Airport Authority seeks lower gas rates

MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Airport Authority approved an agreement with Affordable Gas & Electric on Tuesday night for the company to negotiate lower natural gas prices for the Authority.

Rob Wielt of AGE presented a proposal to the Authority in November, which board members tabled. On a 5-0 vote, the Authority gave Wielt and the company the authority to negotiate natural gas prices.

Wielt told the board it will not see a reduction in prices until at least May 1, when the new contract will go into effect. Ameren had set a deadline of Jan. 31 for new customers to receive the negotiated rates, however, Wielt said that deadline has been extended to March 12. That in essence gives Wielt and partner Jeff Haarmann another six weeks to have the ability to get other municipalities and/or government agencies signed up to meet the deadline.

“In March, we’ll make a recommendation to purchase natural gas at a fixed rate to get a lower rate in the summer,” Wielt said. “We will recommend a conservative approach, rather than having to sell on the open market. By signing this contract, you’re in the game and will get lower rates in May.”

Wielt also said the company will recommend a variable rate during the summer months.

“Gas is more volatile than electricity. Gas is different in that both proposals are based on assumptions,” said Authority member Gary Chesney. “I’m comfortable working with Rob. You’re buying a commodity — that’s what it is. It’s good to have local people involved.”

In other action, the Authority gave member Greg Martin and Airport Manager Chris Collins authority to prepare specifications for new doors to the front entrance at Koziara Terminal. The Authority has been discussing this item for several months, and based on initial investigations by Martin has learned the two sets of slider doors could be purchased for approximately $16,000. The sliding doors will work on a motion sensor system — much like the entrance/exit doors to Walmart and Kroger, according to Martin.

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