Ning Mosberger-Tang: A crucial misunderstanding of muni ballot issues

In a recent discussion of municipal utility ballot measures with my friends, I realize that there exists a crucial misunderstanding of the ballot measures 2L, 2O and 2P.

Ballot measure 2L simply extends the muni exploration process with a Utility Occupation Tax that you are already paying for on your monthly electricity bill, with a slight increase for the next two years. 2L is not an authorization to create a municipal utility at all. This piece of crucial information is often lost in the heated debates on muni around town.

Ballot measure 2O is a requirement for a voter approval before the issuing of muni bond and the operation of muni. The voters will have a final say on this once the city figures out the final cost through the continued exploration process.

Ballot measure 2P allows executive sessions for council to have attorney-client privilege with their lawyers about legal strategy without Xcel listening in.

It’s worth mentioning that even though Xcel has proposed to go 55 percent renewable by 2026, it has just started the application process and isn’t bound to it at all. If 2L is voted down and Boulder abandons the muni exploration process altogether, there’s even less incentive for Xcel to follow through with the plan. In any case, even if they do follow through, it’s far from enough for Boulder to achieve its climate goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

The actual vote for muni will come no sooner than 2019/2020. Let’s hope that by that time the city would have negotiated a reasonable acquisition deal and have laid out a concrete plan to achieve 100 percent renewable by 2030 — if it wants to win the final voter approval to go ahead with the municipal utility.

This Letter to the Editor was published in the Daily Camera.

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