New Member Joins the Lamar Utility Board

Howard Hobbs Sworn in by Judge Stan Brinkley

Howard Hobbs Sworn in by Judge Stan Brinkley

Howard Hobbs was sworn in as the newest member of the Lamar Utility Board, Tuesday, September 24, by District Court Judge Stan Brinkley.  He is filling in the vacancy left when Don Steerman’s term expired.  The board membership is currently at full capacity, but the membership will be subject to a future change when member Ron Cook becomes a councilman for the City of Lamar. 

Once Cook takes the oath of office for the council seat, per ordinances, he cannot remain on the Utility Board.  Cook will have to resign his seat and the board will need to find his replacement.  One candidate has been mentioned at this point, but his approval is pending his application and a vote by the Lamar City Council.  Roger Stagner, as Mayor of Lamar, serves as a liaison to the Utility Board but has no voting privileges, so he can serve in both capacities.  The lineup change would occur following the November general election.  Board members held a reorganization vote at the Tuesday meeting with David Anderson as Chairman, Mike Bryant as Vice-Chair, John Lefferdink remains as board attorney and Houssin Hourieh as Light Plant Superintendent.  Board members serve five year terms and another reorganization vote will be needed in November with the appointment of the new member. 

Financial matters before the board members included a brief overview of the 2014 budget outlined by ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority.  Employee payroll for the year is estimated at $1,953,000 for approximately 20.9 full time employees.  Funding has also been set aside to purchase the necessary materials to cover 120 days of boiler testing next year.  Operating revenue the light plant for July is $1,342,288 with total operating costs of $1,195,148.  The light plant had a net loss of $23,571 for that month after non-operating revenues and expenses were considered.  Year to Date operating revenues since January are $7,398,825 and total operating costs are $6,649,091 for gross operating income of $749,734, but when non-operating revenues and expenses are factored, there is a net loss, year to date of $382,859.  Superintendent Hourieh noted that the refinancing process with Wells Fargo on the Wind Turbine bonds was approved by the Lamar City Council which will result in a net savings of $256,267. 

The board went into executive session for legal advice on specific legal questions regarding the ARPA contract.  The next Utility Board meeting is set for Tuesday, October 15.

By Russ Baldwin


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