When Belleville goes out for electricity bids on Tuesday, it will be taking the cheapest rate available. And that's how it should be.
Some residents wanted the city to contract for more expensive all-green energy. But when Belleville voters approved the referendum in November to allow the city to negotiate on their behalf, they did so in search of the cheapest rates. Period. Green energy wasn't really part of the reform debate.
The City Council's decision to take the cheapest rate -- and to not charge a percentage for itself even though it could -- honors voters' desire to save money.
Traditional energy is only about $8 a year cheaper on an individual household basis than green, but as Alderman Joe Hayden points out, for the entire city that equals about $150,000 -- money that could be spent at businesses in the community.
Proponents of all green argue that it's worth the price for Belleville to be a leader on environmental issues. Perhaps. If they want to build community support for buying all-green energy in a subsequent contract, they are free to do so.