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Legislators meet with utility district


With two Senate bills and one House bill in the works that could greatly alter how regional utility districts operate, LaGrange County Regional Utility District Board President Ron Kantorak, along with legal counsel John Gastineau and former board member Bob Murphy, met with State Senator Sue Glick and State Representative Dennis Zent Saturday to discuss the pending legislation.

Sen. Glick is listed as a co-author of one of the Senate bills being considered, while Zent authored the House bill that, if passed, would bring the greatest changes to utility districts (see related article).

According to Kantorak, the meeting Saturday went well. “We were able to communicate our points and they listened and asked questions,” Kantorak said Monday.

One question that the district’s board had during their meeting Friday to get information on the proposed legislation was what led Rep. Zent to draft the bill. “He (Zent) indicated that he was getting a lot of pressure on the issue,” Kantorak said. “He put together a bill that talked to every issue they (utility district opponents) talked about.”

Kantorak said that the district representatives pointed out to the legislators that those dissatisfied with regional districts are a small group.

Kantorak pointed to the possible changes in how campgrounds and youth camps would be billed as one issue that was discussed. Zent’s bill would see those users on a metered rate solely, and they would pay only for usage with no allowance for capital charges or debt charges. That would leave the lost charges to be covered by other users in those service areas. “The last thing we want to do is to have to raise our rates,” Kantorak stated.

The meeting was a positive step for the district. “I felt that both Rep. Zent and Sen. Glick listed to our concerns. They spent the time and talked to us. We couldn’t ask for more than that,” Kantorak said.