What will be on the ballot? (Note: It will be a mail-in ballot. Make sure you are registered and receive a ballot:
www.bouldercounty.org/government/elections) LAST DAY TO REGISTER: Oct. 3
• Ballot Issue 2B: Increase and Extend the Utility Occupation Tax
The extension of the existing tax will continue to fund city services. The increase will fund the legal, financial and technical planning necessary prior to proceeding with municipalization, and can only be spent on the municipal utility. The tax increase is about $1/month for most residences. Putting this in perspective, Xcel raised our rates 7% or $4/month per average residence in the first six months of this year because of fossil fuel price increases. The tax increase will last for a maximum of 6 years, and would be ended earlier if the muni effort were terminated.
• Ballot Issue 2C: Boulder Light and Power Utility
This establishes the Charter language for operation and governance of a Boulder municipal utility (“muni”). If the City decides to proceed with municipalization, 2C also lets the city issue bonds for acquisition of the distribution system.
How are citizens protected?
_ Important safeguards exist: The City can only create the municipal utility if: (1) electric rates will not exceed Xcel’s at the time of acquisition or startup and (2) electricity revenues will be sufficient to pay for operating expenses (including power purchases) plus 125% of debt payments, and (3) reliability will be comparable to Xcel’s, and (4) there is a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewables. In addition, transfers of revenues to the general fund are severely restricted (< 4% of total). The bonds would be paid off solely through the revenue of the utility, limiting the total debt.
What are we committing ourselves to by this vote?
• We are only committing ourselves to a path toward municipalization. Off–ramps are available that we can use if detailed study shows municipalization is uneconomic. While structures to govern and finance a municipal Boulder electric utility are built into the ballot, at the end of this feasibility study process City Council would be able to make a determination about whether to go forward with municipalization, to negotiating with Xcel for a new utility model, or other options that do not exist at this time.