City officials won't make a second try at convincing residents that they would be better off with a municipally owned hydroelectric plant. The first try failed.
Although members of the City Council were unanimous in their support for the plant after concluding from a study that it would save residents money, their constituents didn't see it that way. They opposed a $2 million bond issue, by a vote of 267-216."The City Council won't pursue the matter further and will renew the franchise when it is due in 1990," a spokesman at the Panguitch city office told the Deseret News. Electric services are now provided under a franchise agreement with Utah Power & Light Co. The agreement expires in 1990.
City officials told residents at public meetings prior to the voting that power costs could be reduced by about 11 percent if the city owned its own system. The figure included debt service, power supply and operating expenses.
Although it was a general bond issue, officials believed loans could be amortized with electric revenue without raising property taxes.
The city also could have begun receiving an allocation of low-cost hydroelectric power in 1989 from the Colorado River Storage Project if construction of a municipal system had been under way by Oct. 1 of this year, said City Manager Bruce Fullmer. That allocation would have met 15 percent to 20 percent of the city's power needs.
By turning down the Colorado River Storage Project allocation, the city has given up its chance for that power source for another 15 years. That's when contracts will be due for signing again.
Utah Power & Light Co. openly opposed the bonding. Representatives said that claims made by city officials were misleading and that each Panguitch resident would incur an indebtedness of $1,300 if the bond issue passed.
The City Council attempted to buy UP&L's existing distribution system but the private utility's officials refused to sell.