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Sigman offers no details on utility rate plan

:Bobby Sigman is touting his ability to lower utility rates with campaign signs such as this one, but he won't tell voters how he plans to do that.

:Bobby Sigman is touting his ability to lower utility rates with campaign signs such as this one, but he won't tell voters how he plans to do that.

COVINGTON -- As the Covington Municipal Election nears, mayoral candidate Bobby Sigman is making promises that he'll lower light bills for utility customers if elected, a claim other candidates say is irresponsible.

In recent days, signs in the shape of a light bulb stating, "To Lower Your Light Bill, Elect Sigman Mayor," have been popping up around town.

When asked to explain his plan to lower utility rates, Sigman responded, "That's my secret, dear. I can't reveal that. If I reveal that, I'm giving my opponent ammunition and I can't do that. I guarantee people they will be lowered. I have a program ... it's better than 9-9-9," he said, referring to presidential candidate Herman Cain's tax plan.

The city's charter states that utility rates are set by ordinance, and ordinance approval is the function of the City Council. The council has the authority to impose a product cost adjustment to account for changes in the cost of utilities to the city. The mayor votes only in the event of a tie. Sigman said he'd have to get at least three of the six council members to go along with his plan.

"No one's even addressed utilities. No one wants to stand up and say, 'I will lower utilities.' There is an alternative. No one is able to do it, but I am able to do it," Sigman said, but still declined to give specifics of how he plans to do that.

"I think it's terribly misleading, what he's saying," said opponent Ronnie Johnston, who noted that rates are set by the council and are based on the cost of the product to the city.

Johnston said a more realistic solution is to discuss implementing a flat-rate payment plan, where citizens pay the same amount monthly, to keep charges more stable from month to month. He also advocates more education of residents about programs that assist with utility payments and home weatherization.

"People need help, not empty promises. They need someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get in there with them," Johnston said, adding that he would work to improve communication with residents on possible solutions.

Write-in candidate Tim Walden said the city's rates are already low compared to other areas, but he knows people are struggling. Like Johnston, he said the answer is programs that assist residents with payments.

"Probably all we can do I think is sit down and discuss it and get some of the non-profits in the city together to see what can be done," he said.

Walden added that while he's optimistic more can be done, "I'm not trying to make false promises."

Walden said the city has talked about but never implemented distribution of information on such programs to citizens through utility bills. However, the city manager said information on Heat Energy Assistance Team (HEAT) and Project Round-Up have been inserted as letters into out-going utility bills multiple times.

Comments

Silverbullet 2 years, 11 months ago

Easy to look up the utility rate comparisons between cities in Georgia online. Sigman has hit the nail on the head as far as listening to what the people want. Everybody else seemed to miss it until he brought it up now they are jumping on the bandwagon saying he cant do it. How would they know? Rates in Covington are much higher than the average city in Georgia on electric and water/sewerage. Why? Most say to equalize those property taxes to the wealthy and those who live on Floyd Street and locally owned commercial property. Maybe this is his plan?

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nenokr 2 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, Sigman is grasping at straws. He couldn't "steal" the election and got caught doing it. Now he is making empty promises he can't fulfill. I hope the voters in Covington are smart enough to see what he is trying to do. It will be a rough 4 years if he is elected next week.

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THorn 2 years, 11 months ago

Citizen, I hate to say this, but you are showing yourself to be a little biased about this campaign for mayor. You kept the mans mug shot in the paper for every story.( Sigman). Every article that has been written there has been no objectivity. Come on now and take it easy, your starting to show who you are supporting and that is not your job. Your job is to report the news not assist in campaigns. I would not vote for either candidate, but fair election is a must. Elections should not be decided by the media like one I know of. Look how it turned out.

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will 2 years, 11 months ago

People open your eyes, he was caught on tape stealing political signs from the other candidate. I know this is small, no pun intended,time crime but it shows you the character of a person remember our mayor that was caught shoplifting, crime is crime. We DO NOT need a criminal thug in elected office at any level. We need elected officials that have dignity, class, and morals not anyone with a criminal history or lack of dignity, class, and morals. People do not vote for a person just because they will give you something for nothing or promise you something and not be man enough to expain how it will works. We already have a loser in Washington dont waste your vote locally. I agree with THorn sigmans mug is in the paper at every turn and he can never back up his promises with facts. For him to say "thats my secret, dear" is a joke, who is he talking down too. By the way sigman you are no Herman Cain.

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Silverbullet 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank gawd Sigman is no Herman Cain...no reports of female sexual harassment. George W. Bush was AWOL, crashed five of OUR $27million dollar fighter jets and he was elected president! A couple of campaign signs, something that happens in EVERY elections...what a joke.

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Roundabout 2 years, 11 months ago

Good Idea about comparing utility rates. Here is the link: http://www.psc.state.ga.us/electric/surveys/2011/allprowin/allprowin-1000.asp Covington is in the cheapest third in the state. Georgia Power is in the highest half. Mansfield is the highest in the state and Oxford is in the middle. Snapping Shoals is a little cheaper than Covington at 9.08 cents per kwh with Covington at 9.7 cents per kwh. Thanks for bringing that to everyone's attention. Covington has done a great job bringing their utility costs down. I don't see how Sigman is going to be able to do any better.

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will 2 years, 11 months ago

Just saw bobby sigman putting campaign signs on the telephone pole just south of the square on 36 and I called planning and zoning and guess what, they said that was a violation. I am not able to vote in this election for mayor but I wish I was. Do rules apply to bobby sigman? By the way the sign was not very high on the pole.

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nenokr 2 years, 10 months ago

Will, you are correct. Placing campaign signs on the right-of-way or utility poles is a violation. Playing by the rules doesn't apply to Sigman, remember? The reason the signs weren't very high should be obvious.

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Silverbullet 2 years, 10 months ago

Don't know where you looked up 'utility rates' but you obviously left out the water and sewerage rates to average in with the electric and gas. Lows of $8.00 per 1000 gallons of water and highs of $23.00 but the sewerage is yet another story. Covington is $15.00 per 1000 gallons of water. You look up all of them and average them and Covington is in the TOP 1/3!!

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Roundabout 2 years, 10 months ago

Sigman is telling folks he is going to reduce their "light bill" Covington is in the cheapest third in the state for electricity. Why don't you include a link like I did so we can check your sources.

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

As I read B. Sigman's new campaign poster it says "To Lower Your Light Bill...Elect Bobby Sigman" - nothing about water or sewer The electric utility charges are the issue. Secondly, $15/1000 seems to be $7.00 higher than the lowest but $8.00 lower than the highest - that seems to be in the bottom 1/2 of the range.

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