Citizens Tuesday voted down a proposal to build a city-owned power company 508-401, killing any further action by the City Council to break away from Utah Power & Light Co. and start its own utility.
City councilmen agreed in their regular meeting April 5 that the results of the balloting would determine the direction the city would take regarding the municipal power issue.The election, held at City Hall from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., attracted 58.7 percent of the city's registered voters, which city councilmen called a gratifying turnout.
They said their biggest fear was that only a few citizens would vote or that the election would be decided by only a few votes, leaving the issues muddy.
Mayor Jerry Thompson said Tuesday night he had been alarmed at the controversy that stirred the city in the past week. "I hope people can bury any animosities they feel and erase any bitterness that has emerged over the power issue."
It would have cost the city between $2 million and $3 million to build an electric utility to replace UP&L. Councilmen had planned to purchase the power system with revenue bonds and pay for them over 20 years or less with money from the sale of electricity.
They told citizens the city-owned power company would be able to furnish electricity at much cheaper rates and the city would be enhanced by having the additional revenue the power company would earn.
Thompson, after election results were announced, said he believes "people were scared. The project was too big for them and they didn't want to take a chance."
"There was a lot of emotion involved in the issue, and I don't see the election as a defeat. The issue was a big one and just too tough for some people to handle."
He said the power issue was "the toughest I've had to face in my whole career. You wouldn't believe the phone calls I've had in the past three weeks or the people that have come up to me on the street. Everybody had an opinion about the city going into the power business."
"I'm glad the whole thing is over."