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Readers' Views: My 2 cents on Middletown

Posted 10/16/12



I have been trying to understand the ongoing saga in Middletown Borough, and I feel I must put in my 2 cents, for what it is worth.

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Readers' Views: My 2 cents on Middletown


As most of you know, I have worked for the Borough of Royalton for more than 30 years, and Royalton sells electric to its residents just as is done in Middletown. The only difference is that for many, many years, Middletown was able to purchase its electric from Met-Ed at the rate of 1 cent a kilowatt-hour thanks to the brilliant foresight of MIddletown’s forefathers. How I wish Royalton’s forefathers had gotten in on that deal!     

For all those years, Middletown residents were provided electric service at a substantially lower cost than consumers elsewhere, and Middletown was able to make a huge profit. With this profit, the borough was able to create programs and provide services that are only dreamed of by residents in small communities.

Many residents, as well as many landlords, converted their heating systems from coal, gas and oil to electric and took advantage of the lower rate without giving regard to having adequate insulation. Many never made an effort to conserve or insulate because they had the luxury not to – their bills were low, even though their consumption was high.

Once the Met-Ed contract was gone, the electric rates had to be raised and brought up into the real world of the electric consumer. Even after rates began to increase for Middletown residents, there were times our Royalton residents were paying three times as much.  

Royalton continues to be right in line with the major electric suppliers.  

For some reason, Middletown residents have been led to believe that prior councils and past administrations have hoodwinked the whole borough. The days of being able to purchase electricity for the 1 cent per kilowatt-hour has ended. To provide the services Middletown residents have become accustomed to, you either must increase the electric rate or increase taxes. The revenue must come from somewhere. The only other alternative is to cut services.

There was a time that I, though certainly not everyone in Royalton, wanted Royalton to become a ward of Middletown. Royalton struggles to keep its small community alive, but it gets more difficult each year.

We in Royalton may not have as much money as the Borough of Middletown, but we are rich in public servants – council members, the mayor, authority members, planning commission members and zoning hearing board members who have their hearts in the right place. They respect each other, work together and do their best for our community.  

My hope is that all of you in Middletown can begin to work together and listen to the residents and the people in the borough who have experience, like former council member Sandy Nagle, Ken Klinepeter (director of Middletown’s water/wastwater department), Greg Wilsbach (director of Middletown’s electric department),Tom Handley (Middletown Borough Authority member), Peter Pappas (Middletown Borough Authority chairman) and Mayor Robert Reid, and try to move forward.  

I’m a Royalton girl first, but I consider myself a Middletown girl as well. I love the area and want to be proud of where I live. It is so rich with possibilities that are overshadowed when no one is getting along, people are at odds about so much and the council/administration feels the need to place a “gag order” on its employees. That is sad and embarrassing at the same time.  

While I’m sure some cuts to the budget and services could be – and are – needed, I would hope you could stop fighting over whose fault this is. It is simple math: The cost of electricity has caught up with you. The loss of revenue caused when the contract with Met-Ed was broken is the only culprit here.  

                                          Bonnie Young

(The writer is the former borough secretary of Royalton).