Author: Renee Schmid, Former SPU Finance Director
Let’s look at the data.
The City’s marketing campaign to abolish Shakopee Public Utilities Commission has spread disinformation to Shakopee voters. One example is the City’s implication that SPU has questionable financial management, yet the City has strong financial management.
From the City’s recent marketing campaign mailer:
“Since there are concerns about the utility’s finances, the city will conduct a full forensic audit upon assuming leadership of the utility.”
“The city has a legacy of strong fiscal management…”
Except… the data doesn’t support their claims.
This chart above shows the outstanding debt as of year-end (principal and interest) for both the City and Shakopee Public Utilities.
Here’s the truth:
- SPU has reserves because of responsible financial management. SPU paid off more than $30 MILLION in debt in about 13 years. The City is in so much debt, it pays a million in interest per year. Yet the City questions SPUC’s financial management.*
- SPU has annual audits as required by state law with clean audit opinions. Why would the city waste money on another audit? That alone isn’t wise financial management.
- It’s about the money. If the Commission is abolished, the City will gain access to more than $50 MILLION for pet projects. Once those reserves are spent, Shakopee will have no capital for growth-related utility infrastructure development or emergencies. What will the City do then? Bond for it.
- SPU offers low electric and water rates, fast response times, and high-quality water. Read the facts here.
- Government entities cannot campaign on ballot questions. It’s illegal. But that hasn’t deterred our City Administrator and Mayor.
Perhaps it’s not the utility that needs an audit?
If you believe in responsible financial management, vote NO and save SPUC.
* As if December 31, 2007, Shakopee Public Utilities had $33.9 million in principal debt outstanding.