Empire complex not in bill-payers’ best interests


Empire Electric Association Inc. finally reveals secret plans to build a new operations facility, after accepting a contractor’s bid of $6.4 million. By keeping plans under cover, they avoided any criticism or any ideas that may have been better than theirs. Why should we be expected to read the fine print in every edition of the newspaper to find out what Empire’s plans really are?

Empire decided not to build on property they already owned but buy a 40-acre parcel of good open farmland and turn it into a commercial/industrial complex. Neal Stephens is right: When Phase 2 is completed this complex will be hard not to miss; it will have several tall shining metal buildings, 100-foot tall shining radio communications tower, continuous nighttime security lighting, security fencing with razor wire on top of 10-foot chainlink fence. This will look like a federal prison planted in the middle of a family neighborhood. Is this the kind of planning and zoning we want in Montezuma County? Most of us would think certainly not.

Empire will spend thousands and thousands of our dollars to cover up and make this complex something other than a commercial/industrial complex with an office building attached. It will forever be an eyesore, and has many more detrimental effects than benefits.

Special thanks to those board members who voted in favor of this secret project so that the bill-paying stockholder members had no voice and no choice but to pay for what you committed us to pay for. Thanks also to those board members who voted to award the contract to an outside contractor so that the majority of money spent goes outside our community with little benefit to local workers, contractors or builders. Is this how you build and support the local economy?

Tri-State Energy, our electric supplier, has predicted they will have to raise their rates for the next three years or more, while Empire is spending $7 million plus on a new location. Thanks, Empire Electric, for keeping our power bills low.

Remember, management does not own Empire. We, the bill-paying customers, do.

Jerry Koskie