The City of Boulder would have us believe that we have to choose between having full-service libraries and adequate police protection and paying for a new tax imposed on Xcel Energy to replace lost franchise fees. I urge voters not to be swayed by these manipulative tactics. If we vote down the energy tax, the City simply has to negotiate a new franchise with Xcel Energy. We don’t have to shutter our libraries or return to the lawless Wild West.
There are good reasons to reject the new tax. It is $4 million we don’t need to pay as we struggle with the worst recession since the Great Depression. More importantly, the proposed tax is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg for much higher energy costs should the city pursue its goals of taking over management of our electrical power system.
Renewable technologies are expensive, and bringing them online in an affordable and reliable fashion is challenging. As a long-time Xcel Energy customer, I’m impressed with its efforts to include wind power, offer rebates for energy efficiency measures, allow two-way metering for solar electric systems, and willingness to retire the Valmont coal-fired power plant.
The fact that these steps aren’t “good enough” for the City Council and Staff suggests to me that ideology has gotten way ahead of sound fiscal judgment. I’m sure it’s possible to have more renewable energy resources deliver our power – but at what cost? Since the City isn’t providing any numbers, I’m already imagining electric bills that are two, three, or even four times higher than what we currently pay.
The City decided it couldn’t trust us to vote on a new franchise for Xcel Energy. The only way I know to let it know I’m satisfied with Xcel Energy’s service is to vote down this tax, and object with my vote in the next city council election if the City decimates our libraries and police force. The threat to do so to sway this election is flat out wrong. It also suggests the City is short on logical arguments in favor of the proposed tax.