BED to Seek Rate Increase

first_imgBED to Seek Rate IncreaseBurlington Electric Department announced October 23, 2008, that it will seek a rate increase of up to 5.9 percent from the Public Service Board, pending the approval of the City Council. The increase would become effective Jan. 1, 2009. The exact amount of the increase will be determined as BED endeavors to arrange the optimal debt strategy for 2009 and beyond. The need for the increase is driven by increased power, transmission and operating costs, along with declining sales of electricity that are a result of BED’s successful energy efficiency programs.BED has advanced its ongoing major capital projects, the McNeil air quality improvements and the East Avenue reliability upgrade, through favorable short-term borrowing arranged through the City. This allows BED to reap the benefits of these projects in lowered operating costs as it moves into 2009 without fully absorbing the cost of the debt these projects will require.”That’s the bright side,” said general manager Barbara Grimes. “More problematic is that these projects will still need long-term financing in a bond market that is very uncertain, given the current financial turmoil. Though thankfully we have voter support to obtain bond funding, and we prefer long-term to short-term debt, the bond market is currently expensive. It is difficult to say today when the time will be right. But by implementing these cost-effective projects now, we can count on reaping their benefits to lower the amount needed when we do go for long-term financing.”BED is sensitive to the difficult economic times Burlington’s residents and businesses are experiencing. “While we’re reluctant to put off what we know will be needed and defer debt until tomorrow, we think it is best in the current economic situation to ask for as small a revenue increase as possible,” said Grimes.BED will continue to offer aggressive energy efficiency programs to all its customers. “We’ve known through our planning that these programs will reduce revenue and impact rates in the short term, but participating in these offerings is the best way for our customers to lower their own bills and offset the increased cost. The payoff will come in the long term, when BED can avoid buying new supply sources.”All BED customers are encouraged to explore what’s available for reducing their energy bills by visiting BED’s web site, www.burlingtonelectric.com(link is external), or by calling 658-0300.#30last_img read more

Fletcher: Why I don’t care about cheating in Hall of Fame voting

first_imgBarry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Manny Ramirez all cheated.And I don’t care.I know I’m supposed to care, but if I’m being totally honest with myself, and not just feeling what I’m supposed to feel, I just don’t.These guys are just baseball players, and I’m really not looking for them to be anything more. Sure, the ballot says I should take “character” into account, but the Hall is already dotted with people of questionable character, so the bar is pretty low.I have voted for the “steroid guys” in part because it didn’t bother me that much, but also because I didn’t feel it bothered the sport that much.Major League Baseball allowed, and I believe even encouraged, players to use performance-enhancing drugs during that era. I wasn’t going to punish them retroactively.Ramirez, though, was a part of a slightly different era, when MLB tested for steroids. He was suspended twice, so he presented a new question. Logically, I could justify distinguishing him from Bonds and Clemens.As I thought about it, though, Ramirez’s PED use still didn’t bother me. It just didn’t. The outrage just isn’t there.These are just baseball players doing what high-level athletes do, which is push the envelope to wring every ounce of performance out of their bodies.They live in a world where a tiny decline in physical skill can cause a huge decline in results. A little less fastball, a little less bat speed can mean the end of a career.The players in the 1960’s and 70’s who popped amphetamines were doing the same thing, even though it didn’t work as well.The difference was science, not integrity.Legendary Negro Leaguer Buck O’Neil famously said: “The only reason players in my time didn’t use steroids is because we didn’t have them.”So let’s just dispense with the “character” charade. The Hall of Fame is a museum that recognizes the best baseball players.Period.Now that we’ve lifted the PED question from the Hall of Fame ballot, it becomes only slightly less complicated, though.It’s still a hair-splitting exercise of distinguishing the top 1 percent from the top 2 percent.It’s easy to check the names of Bonds, Clemens and Ramirez, and not that difficult to add Jeff Bagwell, a PED-suspected player whose numbers easily place him among the best first basemen of all time.I also checked the box for Tim Raines, who I have voted for consistently for years.Those five boxes checked, there were 13 others I felt deserved a long look.They included five I had previously deemed worthy of a yes: Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina. There were five on whom I’d passed previously: Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker and Billy Wagner. And there were three new names: Vladimir Guerrero, Pudge Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.I took a fresh look at all 13. I was searching for dominance and longevity, but mostly the former.Give me Sandy Koufax over Don Sutton every time.I prefer high-rate stats to raw accumulations of hits or homers.Without getting too deep into the numbers, I quickly realized I’d been underrating Martinez. He had nine seasons with an adjusted OPS+ of 150, the most of any hitter on my list.I had been discounting his stats too much because of being a DH or not having a long enough career. He did enough. I voted for Martinez, for the first time.The same type of analysis also encouraged me to drop Kent and Sheffield, who didn’t have as many dominant seasons as I’d remembered when I voted for them before. Sosa, Posada and McGriff also came up a little short by the same logic.Rodriguez and Guerrero also had fewer dominant seasons than I’d expected, but still earned my vote.With Rodriguez, his defense put him over the top. He won 13 Gold Gloves, and was probably the best defensive catcher in history.As for Guerrero, this combination is hard to ignore: He hit .318 with 449 homers. The only five other players who can match both of those are Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Stan Musial. Those aren’t merely Hall of Famers, they are short-list, best-of-the-best, inner-circle Hall of Famers.That leaves Walker, whose numbers definitely warrant induction, especially in terms of dominant seasons. I certainly might vote for him in the future, but for now he doesn’t make my cut because of the Coors Field factor. His career OPS on the road was .865, which is very good but not quite Hall of Fame-worthy.Now, the pitchers. Schilling and Mussina were relatively easy. Both of them rank above the average Hall of Famer in adjusted ERA. Schilling also had a 2.23 postseason ERA, leading his teams to three World Series titles.And that’s 10, the limit.Hoffman had gotten my vote before, but when I looked deeper, his ERA and WHIP weren’t all that special among the other closers of his era. And he wasn’t even as effective as Wagner. Hoffman’s ERA+ was 141, compared to Wagner’s 187.Wagner, however, came up a little short in quantity. He pitched almost 200 fewer innings than Hoffman, and Hoffman had him by 183 saves.If you could combine Hoffman’s quantity with Wagner’s quality, you’d have a Hall of Famer.Call him … Mariano Rivera. He’ll get my vote when it’s his time.Hoffman and Wagner? Not now. Especially not since I would have had to knock off someone else to vote for either. I couldn’t justify either of them over any of the other 10.But I will look at them all again next year.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more