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Springfield City Council discusses the economics of power generation

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Electricity, like any utility, is a businesses. Power plants generate electricity and consumers buy it. Those consumers can be the residents and businesses in Springfield, or they can be further afield if the power is sold onto the grid. How much consumers have to pay is determined by how much it costs to generate a unit of power. The problem for the city planners is that no one seems to know how much it costs to generate power.

There are two efforts underway that should help find an answer to this critical question. The city is bringing in an auditing team for the utility itself to see how it is currently conducting business. Tonight, the council also discussed bringing in The Energy Authority Inc. to help create a twenty-year integrated resource plan. This plan will identify which units the city should keep, and how to adapt to the changing energy landscape. Additionally, the plans should help get a handle on the personnel issues, including the numerous unions that represent the workers. Personnel costs are a major factor in the scale and uncertainty of the operational costs.

Getting the utility expenses under control is even more important now that the city has a negative cash flow. This was not unexpected, but still represents a serious problem.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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Business

SJ-R writers march for a contract

Thomas Clatterbuck

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2007 was the year President George W. Bush sent the “surge” of troops to Iraq, the iPhone was released, and the subprime mortgage bubble popped. It was also when writers at the State Journal-Register (SJR) last got a raise. Even after forming a union in 2012, the newsroom writers are still fighting to get their first contract with GateHouse Media. GateHouse Media is part of the New Media Investment Group, which acquired the SJR in 2007. They are based in Fairport, New York,

Today, members of the local United Media Guild marched to demand a labor contract. Those negotiations are ongoing in St. Louis, and have made some progress. A deal struck last year will guarantee a one percent raise in September of this year, and a 1.75 percent raise in October of next year. The marchers were joined by members of other local labor unions including AFSCME.

The local United Media Guild is part of The NewsGuild-CWA which represents 25,000 journalists and media workers across the nation.

You can see our interviews with Union representatives in the video player above, and watch some of the march in the player below.

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City/County

LIVE | Village of Chatham, IL Board Meeting – May 22nd, 2018

Staff Contributor

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LIVE | Village of Chatham, IL Board Meeting – May 22nd, 2018

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Local

Boys & Girls Club unveils new playground

Staff Contributor

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The Boys & Girls Club of Central Illinois has undergone a major facilities improvement thanks to the “Renovation Across the Nation” grant from Lowe’s. This $50,000 grant allowed the Club not just to add a new playground, but also fix the parking lot, HVAC system, and women’s restroom.

While Lowe’s provided the money, that funding went further because of all of the manpower provided by other local businesses and labor organizations. Playground equipment is expensive just to purchase, and installing it is another set of costs as well. Support from Siciliano Construction, Bunn, Equipment Operator’s Local 965, Prather-Tucker Architects, and Carpenter’s Local 270 was a huge multiplier for the grant dollars.

You can watch the full unveiling in the player, courtesy of the Boys and Girls Club. You can learn more about them on the Facebook page or their website.

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