City staff and administration have been working hard to wrap up the remaining details of the proposed utilities sale. As we begin to discuss those details in coming days, I would like to make a personal request from each of you. I ask that you would, for the next month, devote a small amount of your time to better understand the proposed utility sale, and plan to get out to the polls on November 4th to vote on the issue. I make that request with the full understanding that it is my duty to provide you with the details and explanations so that you may understand what is truly at stake here.
From where I sit, I believe the proposed sale of the utilities is one of the biggest decisions Eagle Mountain has ever faced. This decision will surely play a significant role in our future. I do not intend to lobby for your support or for your rejection of the ballot proposition. I do intend to lobby for your participation in the dialogue and in casting your ballot. Up to election day, I intend to provide updates related to the sale via this blog. There are two details I want to provide you here today. Currently, the natural gas prices have moved up, thus increasing the cost the City pays for the gas it delivers to residents. The cost to the residents has not been raised, and as a result, we are currently subsidizing customer gas charges. If we retain the utilities, we will be looking at raising gas rates as early as next year. This is important for residents to be aware of when comparing current rates.
I would also like to clarify that Utah State law requires the sale of an electric utility to a private company to be on the ballot. There is no such requirement or allowance for the sale of a gas utility. This is primarily because there are very few municipally owned gas utilities in Utah. Because of this, only the electric utility sale will be on the ballot, though a vote to sell the electric utility will result in the sale of both. In short we will sell both gas and electric, or sell neither.
Soon, you will receive in the mail a voter information pamphlet with two opinions that have been presented about the ballot measure for the utility sale. Both statements are written by Eagle Mountain residents-one statement in favor of the ballot measure, and one against. These arguments will also appear in the October City newsletter, that will be mailed with your utility bill, along with a statement from the City as is required by Utah State law. Additionally, a rebuttal was written by the same author as the “against argument”. This too is allowed for by state law. I would like to remind every resident that these statements are the sole opinion of the authors, and that their accuracy or opinions are not expressly agreed upon by the City. I appreciate the authors of each statement for participating in this process as we work toward the best solution for Eagle Mountain’s future.
I look forward to digging in to the details about the utility sale and answering the questions you may have. Thank you for your patience!