Editor, Daily Press:
My objective and purpose in writing letters to the editor is to have a broader view of what's happening that will lead to alternative measures that favor everyone. My hope is that my information-sharing will lead to a new beginning of what the trust agreements with Tahlequah Public Works Authority and Tahlequah Hospital Authority intended besides the ability to borrow funds for over a year for operations.
My personal opinion is that our elected officials should be the trustees of TPWA and THA. If you feel they are not meeting their fiduciary responsibilities, you have the next election to remedy the situation.
In addition, my perspective is that the city of Tahlequah should have a manager to provide the internal control to facilitate decisions. Future letters will share my personal perspective regarding specific financial issues in the audit reports filed with the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector and financial decisions reported in the Tahlequah Daily Press that impact the city residents.
The TPWA agreement executed Dec. 4, 1970, is by the very nature of a trust agreement complex and subject to different legal opinions. I will be requesting the mayor and City Council to ask the city attorney to render a legal opinion on whether the successor trustees should be our elected officials, who are officers of the beneficiary according to Article V The Trustees of the trust indenture. A copy of the declaration of trust of the TPWA document will be provided to the Daily Press.
The trustees approved a staggering increase in utility rates over the next three years by 15 percent. The trustees do not need to justify rate increases to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and the trustees can adjust even the current rate upward at their sole discretion. The press release dated Aug. 21, 2020, did not state the trustees' names that approved the rate increases.
If you are having financial issued with COVID-19 or on a fixed income, this should concern you. The letter sent with the billing statement indicates the purpose of the increase is to maintain the financial stability of the TPWA and is a business decision.
My personal opinion on the financial impact on the citizens and the endogenous and exogenous factors of the financial and economic decision will be shared in future letters to the editor.