In February, I met with a group of about ten Sherwood citizens to discuss the upcoming election on the City of Sherwood’s contract with the North Little Rock Electric Department. We are long-time residents — the co-chair having lived in Sherwood since 1947 — and we are pleased with the service North Little Rock Electric has provided us since 1949.
In talking with our neighbors throughout the city — those served by North Little Rock Electric as well as those served by Entergy Arkansas and First Electric Cooperative — we have learned that many voters don’t understand what the election set for May 14 is about. In fact, many believe it is to choose one utility over another when that is not the case at all.
Because Sherwood is serviced by three electric utilities, many voters think they are voting on whether to keep their provider or switch to North Little Rock Electric. Instead, on May 14, all registered voters in Sherwood, regardless of what utility provides them their energy service, will have the opportunity to vote for one of two things:
1)Vote for Ordinance 1953 means the City of Sherwood will maintain its contract with North Little Rock Electric for current North Little Rock Electric customers.
2)Vote against Ordinance 1953 means the City of Sherwood will have to revisit the issue of which electric provider will provide service to current North Little Rock Electric customers living in Sherwood.
Only one area of Sherwood (about 7,000 residents) is served by North Little Rock Electric, but all Sherwood citizens (including those served by Entergy and First Electric Cooperative) who are registered voters are able to vote on this issue. If the ordinance passes, everything will remain the same: those Sherwood residents with North Little Rock Electric will remain with North Little Rock Electric, those with Entergy will remain with Entergy, and those with First Electric Cooperative will remain with First Electric. If the ordinance does not pass, it means the city council of Sherwood again will have to review facts and hold another vote between the aldermen to determine which electric provider will serve this one area of Sherwood.
The Sherwood Fraternal Order of Police and Sherwood Fire Fighter’s Association/ Local 4756 endorse maintaining the City of Sherwood’s contract with North Little Rock Electric for Sherwood residents who are already North Little Rock Electric customers. These first responders endorsed maintaining the contract for these reasons:
1) Neighborhoods in Sherwood.
2) Sherwood’s emergency dispatchers work with a North Little Rock Electric employee based at its headquarters on Maryland Ave. in Sherwood - not a machine or person in another state.
3) North Little Rock Electric responds immediately to all Sherwood emergencies, and this is critical to the safety of Sherwood residents.
Because we believe in the democratic process, and because this issue was already brought to a vote before the Sherwood City Council and passed 5-to-3 to maintain the contract with North Little Rock Electric, my neighbors and I support staying with North Little Rock Electric. We also believe it is every citizen’s right to have the facts about an issue before making an informed vote.