What Makes Ronnie Roll: Electric Cities And Excellent Commerce

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

To say that it was a “pedal-to-the-metal” week is an understatement. Thank God for the technology that made it possible for us to do the interview with Mayor Ronnie as he was attending the annual Electric Cities Conference being held in Montgomery while I was in Athens. He slipped out of the room where a presentation was being made and said, “I hope I didn’t offend anyone by leaving the room.” He went on to tell me that the conference, which is sponsored by TVA, is one of the most important ones of each year. The reason is that we both buy as well as sell our electrical power, and that revenue significantly affects our city budget. Interestingly, it is the City of Athens that is in charge of the electrical power for both the city and the county. The City is working very hard to keep our power rates down, and the TVA has had its own challenges with supply chains, getting materials and supplies.

One of the topics at the Electric Cities conference was the fact that electric cars are on their way, and we have to find a way to prepare for it. It won’t be all that long before electric cars are normal and common, and we’ll have to meet that need.

Going to a conference that focuses on supplying the population with the power they need is invariably going to lead to a discussion about the utilities workers that are out there bringing new power to new developments, as well as restoring power after storms. “They are just as much first responders as soldiers, police, emergency medical people, doctors, and nurses, and I don’t know what I would do without them,” said the mayor. He even used the word “brag” when he talked about the job they are doing.

We moved on to the ribbon-cutting ceremonies which took place this week. The first was the Mid-Towne Publix complex, located on Highway 31 right across from Athens Middle School in the location of the old Big K. “I have been over there two and three times a week, and they have given me the chance to go through and watch their progress,” said Mayor Ronnie. We talked about what a beautiful building it is and what it will mean to the city. “Oh,” he said, “They have leased the buildings right next to the store, too. It’s going to be a great asset to this part of town.

The other ribbon-cutting ceremony was for the newest branch of Listerhill Credit Union, located near the other Publix on Highway 72. The Listerhill story is featured on the front page of this edition, and everyone is glad about their level of community involvement and the service they will bring to their members. “Listerhill had been looking at our community for a long time, checked out the customer base, and finally chose us,” said Mayor Ronnie. “I’m glad they did,” he added.

Mayor Ronnie had to get back to the session, so we prayed quickly. And then, once again it was time for Ronnie to roll.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner