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Top News

Voter Registration Cards mailed
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Registered voters of Kaufman and Henderson County should be receiving their long-awaited Voter Registration Cards in the mail this week.
Voters in Van Zandt County received theirs the first of April. The county clerk reported that all 32,000 cards were mailed out March 30.
Voters have been looking for new cards since the end of December, 2011, when the old ones expired. However, due to legal challenges over the state’s redistricting, the automatic reissuance of new cards was held up.
If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote, you can go to https://team1.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/SearchSelectionVoter.jsp,  or you can go to http://www.votetexas.gov/register_to_vote.html   and follow the prompts.
The deadline to register in the May 29 primary is April 30. The deadline to register in the local May 12 election has already passed.
The new cards are bright yellow. Voters need to verify that all the information on their card is correct. If there is an error, contact the Voter Registrar in your county by telephone. In Kaufman that is (972) 932-0299 and in Henderson County it is (903) 675-6149.
Many polling places have changed this year and the number of voter precincts have been reduced. Precinct information in Kaufman County is available on line at www.kaufmancounty.net
Both counties report that most voters should have received their new cards by the end of April.

 

Monarch Utilities lowers rate hike
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Monarch Utilities, a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company, announced Monday it will be dropping a controversial merger application and asking the state to significantly lower a proposed rate increase.
Opponents of Monarch aren’t quite ready to give a thumbs up to the deal, however, and are still reviewing the documents.
With the merger Monarch was hoping to consolidate eight utility companies, but changed its mind because “we listened carefully to feedback from our customers and elected officials, and we are willing to make adjustments to meet their desires,” said Charles Profilet, vice president, SouthWest Water Company.
In May 2011, Monarch filed for a water rate increase of 62.3 percent and a sewer rate increase of 33.6 percent for the consolidated utilities. With Monday’s filing to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), Monarch is requesting to amend the rate application to a 14.3 percent water revenue increase and no sewer revenue increase for Monarch Utilities without the consolidated utilities.
“Over the past months, we listened to our customers’ concerns about rates,” Profilet said. “While the proposed amended rates will not recover our costs of doing business, we have elected to voluntarily make adjustments because we understand how customers have been affected by the difficult economic climate.”
Orville Bevel, chairman of Texas Against Monopolies Excessive Rates (TAMER), said there were several costs in Monarch’s new plan that weren’t listed in the company’s press release, including 15 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent increases per thousand gallons.
“Unless you only use 2,000 gallons you are going to pay more,” Bevel said.
Plus, Bevel said, the company wants the 14.3 percent increase to go back to August 2011, meaning customers would be responsible for paying all the back fees.
He also said that although the sewer base rate will stay the same, the company plans to charge an extra $5.64 per 1,000 gallons on top of the water rates.
“And we still haven’t looked at other fees,” he said.
He also said there was no mention of how long Monarch intended to stand by the deal.
“If they want to file this and then a year later ask for another increase, then we’re going to say no way,” he said.
Bevel said TAMER, which is an interested party in the rate case, has until Monday to file an answer to Monarch’s new plan.

 

 

 

 

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