Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - Updated: 9:53 AMWith the recent developments with Electric Energy Inc. and one of its parent companies, Dynegy, alluding very publicly that if the 1 percent sales tax passes, it would exacerbate the situation at the Joppa plant, we feel there is probably still more to the story.
The corporate officials from Dynegy told the Planet that the passage of the 1 percent would likely not directly affect jobs or be “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” But the third party letter written by a political consultant, on behalf of Plant Manager Greg Russell seems to indicate if the tax is passed it would affect jobs and possibly close the plant.
Dynegy has said the tax would cost an additional $400,000 per year according to forcasting calculations on current and previous purchases. As Commissioner Jayson Farmer pointed out during the Oct. 25 board meeting, that would mean EEI is spending about $40 million for coal, although Dynegy officials would not say specifically how much they spend.
The rhetoric coming from Dynegy and EEI employees about the sales tax is clear, but it is the figures being projected that seem to do the talking.
Dynegy owns EEI and a coal refinery on site that is generating the sales tax revenue. It has been in operation for the past three years. The refinery buys the coal and “cleans it,” then it is sold to EEI. We would venture to guess using the new method of technology at the refinery probably constitutes some tax credits or incentives. So the figure of $400,000 is being forcasted on three years worth of data, making it impossible to get a true number.
As we reported last week, no matter which way the sales tax issue is voted on, it will have an impact. No one wants to see more jobs lost in the county and voting for the 1 percent sales tax may seem like a bit of a gamble, but it is the best solution to get the money to renovate the courthouse properly.
As a newspaper we have been harsh at times on our county and city leaders. That is what we are here for — to keep watch on our local leaders and report what happens and to call them out on things when they are in the wrong.
We, as a newspaper, have taken an official stance supporting the 1 percent sales tax. We believe that Metropolis, being a town that receives a good amount of tourism year-round, will have outside individuals who will come to spend money and help to support the tax increase right along with those of us who do live in the county.
In previous editorials we’ve also pointed out that if the tax passes, maybe that would encourage county residents to make an effort to shop local more often. It is far too easy to sit back and complain instead of trying to find the positives of our community.
Just last Thursday night at the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, President Mendy Harris noted that since last year the chamber has welcomed 30 new businesses.
Maybe if we all take a little more time to promote the positive aspects of Metropolis and its businesses, we could in fact, attract more out-of-town people to visit here to spend money in our county, thereby increasing the amount of sales tax revenue the county receives.
The most important thing we can say in this issue before the election is no matter which way you vote, on Election Day, is that you actually get out there and vote!
We’ve pointed out the county’s low voter turnout in the spring elections. With it being a presidential election, there should be more voter turnout at the polls this time around. This time there is a lot at stake. We urge voters to seriously look at the information we have provided to our readers before darkening in the ovals on your ballot Tuesday.