SRP board to vote on $1M contribution to Super Bowl 2015 - New York News

SRP board to vote on $1M contribution to Super Bowl 2015

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -

The Salt River Project Board is expected to vote Monday morning on whether or not to spend $1 million to help produce the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale.

The money will be divided between cash, in-kind services and power.

But, some people aren't happy the money is coming from ratepayers who just saw their bill go up in November.

It's called a sponsorship and they're nothing new to SRP.

As FOX 10 reported last week, the utility spent $1.8 million in 2012 -- all customers' money -- on sponsoring the Cardinals, the Phoenix Open and ZooLights.

The utility says the goal is to support community events and educate customers.

They point out some money raised at events is donated to non-profits. But, some say no matter how noble the cause, if it doesn't have to do with directly with helping it's customers, it's money that's misspent.

Their purpose is to deliver electricity and water to customers.

But, now utility SRP is considering using ratepayer money to sponsor the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale.

The utility wants to give $1 million of ratepayer money in the form of cash, in-kind services and power to the Super Bowl host committee.

"There are far better ways that SRP could be spending $1 million of ratepayer money helping to lower monthly bill instead of increasing them as they recently did," said Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.

Brown says they will be at Monday's board meeting asking members to vote "no."

"The super bowl is an economic boost for Arizona, I don't think anyone disputes that, however, why SRP should be using ratepayers money to forward the Super Bowl and to ensure its logo gets out there on T-shirts or on other materials doesn't make sense to ratepayers that we've heard from," said Brown.

Customers have mixed reactions.

"I don't think they should give them the money. I think they should do something for the people that are paying that money to them," said Jesse Forte, an SRP customer.

"I don't mind too much as long as I keep getting power efficiently and not too costly," said Benjamine Mattson, an SRP customer.

SRP says the game exposes the city to corporate leaders that can bring new businesses to the city and more businesses will help electric prices remain low.

In November, the utility raised rates by about $6 a month, despite hearing from those having a hard time paying their bill already.

"To have then SRP turn around and not only raise bills, but contribute money to the Arizona Super Bowl committee, really is a slap in the face to those customers," said Brown.

SRP says the $1.8 million they spent on sponsorships in 2012 is .001 percent of it's $2.8 billion operating budget.

Read Monday's agenda here: http://www.srpnet.com/about/boardagenda/AgendaPage.aspx?DocID=460

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