01/20/2005: Memphis News - the Week in Review
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Jan. 14 - After a recent snit between Mayor Herenton and the City Council involving large pay raises for City Council staff, it turns out that Mayor Herenton approved some pretty big raises for his staff last year.
And Shelby County schools will be laying off 389 workers in 2005 to help make up for a $27 million budget shortfall.
Jan. 15 - Mayor Herenton sent a letter to Memphis television media citing "increasing unprofessionalism exhibited by some of its employees." This follows a rather bizarre incident at a Rotary Club meeting involving WPTY news anchor Cameron Harper. Peggy Phillip and Mike Hollihan have more.
Jan. 16 - Top U of M basketball player Sean Banks will be ineligible to play during the second semester, on account of grades.
Jan 19 - Memphis City Schools Superintendant Carol Johnson has recommended that five city schools be closed.
City Council Staff will only be receiving the 3% raise that all other city employees will get.
MLGW has been fielding a lot of complaints about high January utility bills. The higher bills are partly due to a purchase gas adjustment of 29 cents/ccf, and partly due to a rate hike approved last year by the city council. Members of the City Council, however, claim that the rate hike was not supposed to apply to power purchased in 2004. MLGW, however, claims that the rate hike applied to the first bill sent in 2005, meaning that customers are paying the higher rates for power purchased in December.
I'll note that I had my highest power bill ever: $214, up from $132 this time last year. A lot of that, however, was my fault: I somehow managed to use 133 ccfs of gas in December, whereas last December I only used 71, in spite of the fact that the average temperature this year was two degrees higher. Time to cut the thermostat down.
If I'm doing the math correctly, however, the base price for gas increased from 44.4 cents/ccf to 71.9 cents/ccf, a 62% increase in the base price. That's a big "ouch" for anyone heating a home with natural gas.
Brock on 01.20.05 @ 11:27 PM CST