City of Dothan Proposing Higher Electric Bill

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Plans to increase the city of Dothan's electrical rate have been tabled for now, but outgoing Mayor Chester Sowell thinks the rate hike is too much.

Dothan local and father of two Joseph Grimsly agrees. He says, "I'm on a monthly income, it already makes it harder to pay your bills, trying to pay rent, trying to pay the rest of your bills and try to take care of your family, and try to make it through life"

He says the four percent increase that the city of Dothan is considering will only put him and other families like him more in debt.

"Bills get higher, then before you know it, you ain’t got no money," Grimsley says.

Two percent of the rate hike is a result of Dothan's wholesale supplier, the Alabama Electric Municipal Authority, passing on an increase in the amount they have to pay, but the other two percent would be earmarked for the city's capital improvements.

Mayor Sowell opposes the extra two percent.

"When you're asking for more when our sales tax revenue has been as good as they have and our unreserved balance is as good as it is, I just cannot support an additional increase."

But incoming Mayor Pat Thomas thinks otherwise

"The consumer has won here; the consumer hasn't paid for an increase in operating costs since 1991."

The city will vote on the proposal in two weeks. The commission will be in Washington D.C. for a leaders’ convention next week. The two percent rate hike from the AEMA will be spread out over three years and will total $1.2 million.

People whose monthly electric bills run about $100 would see an increase of four dollars a month under the proposed rate hike.