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Quincy city officials announce credit for utility customers

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By Alice Du Pont

Quincy utility customers will get a credit on their utility bills in the near future. The credits, which will be between $5 and $31, are the result of a $180,000 energy overcharge by Progress Energy.

"The overcharge occurred for transportation between June of 2008 and July of 2009. All of the city's customers paid their share of the overcharge," Jack McLean, city manager, told commissioners at the regular meeting Aug. 11.

McLean said the residential customers would get the lowest credit while commercial and industrial customers will get the highest credit. He suggested that commissioners had options if they did not want to give the credits.

"The money could go into the general fund as reserve. We could use it to augment the loan we'll need due to the monthly fluctuations in revenues. Normally the refunds are used to benefit the entire city," McLean said.

Commissioner Derrick Elias said customers paid the overcharge and the money should be returned to those who paid it.

"The $5 might not seem like much but I think it should be given as a credit and a good faith gesture," said Commissioner Angela Sapp.

In other matters:

• Commissioners authorized Mayor Andy Gay to sign a line of credit for between $500,000 and $750,000 from Capital City Bank that would be used to smooth out the fluctuation in revenues that usually come in slow between Sept. 30 and Nov. 1 each year.The fluctuation is due to the ad valorem tax receipts that usually do not come in until 4 to 5 months into the fiscal year. However, according to McLean, the city's quarterly risk insurance of in the amount of $96,000 is due, as well as bond obligations for $400,000  in October.

"It's not that we don't have the money.  We know we're going to have it but in keeping with the effort to pay vendors between 30 to 50 days we feel this is necessary," McLean said. He told commissioners that staff is working on a 3-year projection to have enough in reserve that a line of credit will not be necessary in the future.

• Commissioners approved the purchase of a street sweeper for $102,500.