To begin with, the Johnson City Power Board’s $500,000 donation in 2006 to the East Tennessee State University School of Pharmacy has nothing to do with the Power Board’s latest donation decision. That was then, this is now — two totally different scenarios.
Personally, I have nothing against the proposed performing arts center. It will enhance the quality of life for many Johnson City residents, but will certainly never be utilized by the majority of our citizens.
If my memory serves me correctly a referendum was held many years ago proposing a tax increase to fund a performing arts center in Johnson City. It was overwhelmingly defeated.
I am, however, concerned that during this uncertain economic time the Power Board has donated $500,000 of their customers’ hard-earned money to ETSU for the arts center.
I am sure that over the past years many ratepayers had to do without in order to pay their electric bills and keep their homes livable. Many have to take second jobs in order to make ends meet.
Rates paid to the Power Board are a result of hard work and sacrifices. Revenues derived from such rates should be used for Power Board operational issues, not performing art centers. If there is such a large fund balance available, how about a rebate to those customers who made this fund balance possible.
Simply stated, regardless of Tennessee Valley Authority policy, this is wrong, not fair to the Power Board’s ratepayers and should be returned to the Power Board coffers for morally correct disbursement.
JOHN C. SMITH