SPRINGFIELD -- The Springfield Board of Alderman voted unanimously at their monthly meeting on May 15 to introduce an ordinance that would renew their franchise agreement with Entergy for the next 25 years.
The ordinance lays out the responsibilities of both parties and sets the franchise fee owed to the town at 2 percent. It was necessitated by the impending expiration of the current agreement in October.
The proposed agreement is essentially a continuation of the terms already in place between the town and the company.
Eunice Harris, a customer service representative with Entergy Northshore, was on hand at the meeting to address any concerns or questions from town officials.
Mayor Tommy Abels asked Harris to clarify that the fee is passed on to the consumer.
“Yes,” she responded. “Entergy is just a collection agent.”
A franchise fee is collected by a utility company from customers for the use of rights-of-way in delivering their service. The utility and the municipality negotiate a certain percentage of the company’s “gross receipts” to be paid to the municipality.
For the current fiscal year, the town anticipated receiving $35,000 from the franchise fees. The budget for the next fiscal year — which begins July 1 and was also introduced at the meeting — projects a slight increase to $35,400.
Harris also said that Entergy is in the process of changing out meters in the Hammond network, which also serves Springfield. The company hopes to be finished by October, she said.
A public hearing on the renewal will be scheduled prior to the next regular meeting set for June 19.