Des Moines is the third U.S. city to join the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities — following New York City in 2010 and Portland, Ore., earlier this year.
AARP Iowa serves on the Des Moines project's executive committee and is asking members to help prioritize goals. Some of the issues the city may tackle to become more age-friendly include transportation, health care and affordable housing.
"After Des Moines carries out its plan over the next five years, we hope to share what we've learned with other Iowa cities," said Kent Sovern, AARP state director. For details, go to aarp.org/ia.
Who Bears the Cost?
Legislation that would allow utilities to charge consumers for power plants that have yet to be built failed to pass this year — but the issue is expected to resurface in 2012.
AARP worked to defeat the bill (HF 561), which could have raised rates by an estimated 10 percent over the next decade to pay for a proposed nuclear power plant. Consumer advocates said the bill would have saddled customers with higher rates even if the utility canceled plans to build a new plant.
"The issue is not nuclear power or any other type of electricity generation," said Kent Sovern, AARP state director. "We oppose any state law requiring ratepayers to shoulder the upfront costs and financial risks of new utility projects."
To learn more, go to aarp.org/ia.
Lawmakers considered a bill this spring that, if passed, would have allowed utility companies to install prepaid metering systems and shut off power once the customer used the prepaid amount.
As part of a coalition of consumer groups, AARP opposed the bill (HF 560), arguing that it would make it easier for utilities to cut service for low-income residents. Opponents expect the measure to be resurrected during the 2012 legislative session and are prepared to fight it again.
"We will ensure that vulnerable, elderly customers do not have vital services shut off in the cold winter or hot summer months, just because their meter expired unexpectedly," says Anthony Carroll, AARP Iowa associate director for advocacy. More than 260,000 utility accounts in Iowa had overdue balances in January, a record for the state.