by Joshua Cleveland
This open letter to Representative Tiffany Zulkosky is dated March 21, 2019.
Dear Representative Zulkosky,
My friend and representative of the Bethel area. I want to share with you the concern I have as your constituent at Quinhagak. I believe my concern is representative to a lot of elderly people of southwest Alaska. The most economically depressed portion of Alaska.
Those of us with fixed income as elderly are already conservative in our expenses as we live our lives in remote Alaska villages. I am very concerned with what is going to happen with the elimination of the PCE program that the Alaska government has been helping us with for years towards paying our electricity bills.
What are we going to face while trying to keep our lights on, our cooking stove, our toyo-stove and our water and sewer which all benefit us as elders? Most of us being in our 70’s and 80’s, it will nearly double our electric bill once this PCE program is cut. It will limit our ability to buy store bought foods, by more than half on the cold months. I am not afraid to show my fixed income and the electric utility payments I make each month, here are the figures:
Fixed income of- $1,174.25
Winter months bills of Dec, Jan, Feb
Heating- $339.50 per month
Water/Sewer- 100.00 per month
Electricity- $444.12 per month
7 5% of fixed income
Available for food: $290.62 for the month
Summer months of May, June, July
Heating- $145.50 per month
Water/Sewer- $100.00 per month
Electricity- $216.00 per month
39% of fixed income
$461.50 for the month
Conservative food expense average per month $600 a month
We give money for gasoline, ammunition, for hunting, berry picking, fishing to our sons and grandsons for their helping us. I am not eligible for medicate, I’m at above borderline for poverty levels. I am fortunate to have my wife share the costs with me with her retirement income. Please keep the PCE state program intact for us. You are our Government! Thank you.
-Joshua Cleveland, Quinhagak