Authors: 13 former SPU employees
Will Shakopee Valley News print both sides of the referendum issue?
Introduction by the Friends of SPUC Committee: This was submitted to the Shakopee Valley News as a paid letter to the editor by the undersigned former Shakopee Public Utilities employees. It was submitted to the SVN editor by the noon deadline on September 28 to be published on October 3. However, extra verification time was required for the multiple signatures, so the publish date was pushed to October 10. It was not published in the print version on October 10. However, it was posted to the Shakopee Valley News website on October 12th. Will it be in print on October 17?
We are former employees of the Shakopee Public Utilities Commission and ask you to VOTE NO to the ballot question to abolish the Shakopee Public Utilities Commission. The city has made the absurd allegation that the water delivered is not safe to drink and needs treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth we assure you. The record clearly shows the delivered water quality meets all federal and state regulations.
We are offended by the city’s claims of “decades of strife” between the two entities. We are the people who worked for the community for decades, unlike current senior city staff. The main and underlying “strife” of today is a result of the utility not kowtowing to the city on their demands that the current utility staff ignore the Commission’s established policies that new development pay for its impact on expanding the water and electric facilities. The city is wrong when it claims otherwise. The city’s reaction has been to stack the Commission with appointees that do not have you, the utility ratepayer’s, as their focus. Only you can stop this by VOTING NO and demanding the city return to appointing qualified community leaders to the Commission to serve the interests of the customers and rate payers of the utility. We encourage you to vote wisely for city councilors who support SPUC. The city and your local state representative, Brad Tabke, recently introduced legislation to take away your right to decide for yourselves what utility management structure will best serve the community you live in. Sadly, it appears this referendum is the first step in the city’s ultimate goal of selling your electric utility, which in our view would be a huge mistake and one that the community would regret as time goes on and the level of service falls off and rates rise.
SPUC’s water and electric usage rates are among the lowest in the metro area and its reliability levels are among the best nationally. We know that because most of us live in Shakopee and are ratepayers and taxpayers like yourselves. The community’s streets are safely lighted at a reasonable cost that is absorbed by the SPUC. That has all been done while keeping electricity costs to SPUC’s customers lower than the surrounding providers, i.e. Xcel Energy, MVEC and the City of Chaska.
Under city control that may change, and usage rates would increase to cover increasing the contribution to the city, so they can continue to subsidize new development while draining the utilities fund balance reserves in the two years they plan to run it before selling it off.
We are proud to have served the community as SPUC employees during our tenure and believe the community is best served by retaining its “independent” Utilities Commission. Please VOTE NO to abolish SPUC.
Mary Ellen Baldwin