INTERVIEW: Mayor Pope talks LP&L petition and budgeting for loca

INTERVIEW: Mayor Pope talks LP&L petition and budgeting for local projects

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Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope talked to FOX34 about the online petition against LP&L, the new budget, and the progress made towards a new police department.

"Electricity is a little bit more expensive this year than it was last year for us," Pope said. "We pay through the contract, we buy electricity through Xcel Energy."

Pope said natural gas prices are up so naturally the electricity costs are up as well.

"What I always want to remind folks of is the LP&L board is a group of citizens," Pope said. "It's governed by our peers and they make decisions about rates and recommend them to City Council. Those decisions are made in public, they're not made in smoky room, everyone knows what those rates are going to be. We have every motivation to keep those rates low, I get billed just like these frustrated citizens."

Pope said the involvement of ERCOT in the local electricity grid will change things for residents.

"It's more of a decision about a deregulated market where there would be more choice," Pope said. "Interestingly enough, if you look back over the last ten years, consumers have paid more in deregulated markets in Texas than they have in regulated markets like ours."

Pope said that council is excited about the upcoming budget.

"I think we're able to fund a lot of the priorities that folks think are important without taking on debt," Pope said. "Between the year that we're finishing and next year, I think we will be able to say that we've avoided issuing about $45 million in debt and paid for it with cash."

Pope said in their recent meeting, council adopted a plan to go towards community policing and the next step is to figure out how to pay for the new police headquarters.

"We'll talk about that Thursday night, it's on our work session agenda," Pope said. "There's two options: we can go to the citizens for a vote in a bond election or use certificates of obligation, that means the citizens don't get a vote."

Pope said the project is estimated to cost approximately $60 million.

"I believe it's time to do it, we've kicked the can down the road for LPD for at least a generation," Pope said. "It's time to make that right investment in public service."

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