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DeKalb County offer raises suspicions | Business

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DeKalb County offer raises suspicions

DECATUR - Think your government is looking out for you? Joseph Smith from Dunwoody doesn't think so.

He sent us a mailer he got from DeKalb County encouraging him to sign up for a great deal with Gas South. Turns out it was more of a deal for the County than it was for him.

"Why is the County endorsing this if it's going to cost me more money?" asked Smith.

Good question.

We learned that the County teamed up with Gas South to offer residents a promotional residential gas rate of $0.59/therm. However, two days after getting the offer Smith got a another mailing to his business from Georgia Natural Gas offering a deal at $0.465/therm on a commercial rate.

Even though they are different rates for different types of accounts, Smith was not impressed because it's not gauranteed to be the lowest in the marketplace and there are several providers from which to choose.

So is the County really looking our for consumers?

"It gives that impression but I think they they're looking out for themselves,"Smith said.

For every new residential customer that signs up, the County gets 12 dollars. It gets 24 dollars for new commercial customers.  

Gas South pays for the cost of mailing the offers.

"This is what I call a win, win ,win situation," said County spokesman Burke Brennan.

"The revenues that are going to be generated from this will be used to defray general government obligations," he said.

Would you say you might be playing favorites though because there are other companies out there that offer this?" we asked.

"And we hope they knock on our door,"Brennan replied.

So far Gas South has sent out 145 thousand promotional offers to DeKalb County residents.  The County believes co-branding with private companies is a good way to go to raise money but Smith believes it could be fraught with problems.

"I don't think it's good. I think the County needs to be supplying the County services from their revenue they get from taxes and if they can't manage it any better than that you know it's not saving me money as a consumer."

If you do decide to sign up to help boost County coffers you should know there is no guarantee it's the best deal out there, which is why you should shop around. There's also no guaranteed you will see taxes drop either even if the County makes more money from partnerships with private companies.

"A lot of people say they'd like government to find other ways to raise revenue without raising taxes and this is one of them," Brennan said.