Additional funds help extend departments tree trimming services.

A proposed budget increase for Independence Power and Light for fiscal year 2009-10 would increase funding for the department’s tree trimming program and energy marketing campaign.

IPL Director Leon Daggett said in a budget presentation Tuesday to the Independence City Council that a 3.7 percent increase from last fiscal year’s budget would push the new budget to nearly $95.3 million, a proposed increase of $3.4 million.

The extra funds would be used to expand tree trimming efforts in the city and the marketing of excess energy, Daggett said.

“Tree trimming has become ever more important from a liability standpoint,” Daggett said. “We need to stay aggressive in this area.”

Daggett added a federal task force determined that a 2004 power outage in the northeastern part of the country could be in part traced back to trees interfering with power lines.

“No one likes to have trees trimmed,” Daggett said, “but it’s better than a power outage.”

In March, the city signed an agreement with Tenaska Power to market excess power on the wholesale market after the city meets its retail load requirements. The extra budget dollars will help satisfy some of the financial obligations of that deal, Daggett said.

“That’s what we are doing with Tenaska,” he said. “We’re trying to get Power and Light more active and receive more income.”

The presentation was the last budget overview before the City Council votes in June on the city’s overall operating budget for fiscal year 2009-10.