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MEU referendum "yes" and "no" proponents respond to the final results of the recount of votes

Posted: Sun, May 13, 2018 5:06 PM

Because a recount panel declared Friday that a referendum to authorize creation of a municipal electric utility in Decorah failed by three votes, the issue cannot come before voters for another four years.

Decorah Power released a statement following the recount:

""Three votes…It's really quite honestly hard to grasp an election this close, virtually a tie. There are several important takeaways, of course, the first is that we were up against enormous odds so that we came so incredibly close is a testament to the work of all of our volunteers and supporters. Their hard work and integrity were amazing. We are still trying to figure out how to thank all of those involved and the countless hours of time that were donated to this process, entirely given for the love of our community and towards a vision of greater prosperity for all of us. We certainly hope that an election this close raises awareness on multiple levels. We hope individuals recognize the importance of participating in the democratic processes and doing so by making informed decisions based on evidence and common sense. We hope that the Iowa Utilities board and Iowa lawmakers are paying attention to what happened here. If the role of the Iowa Utilities board is indeed to look out for the consumers best interest, then the process for municipalization needs serious reconsideration. The state has given investor-owned utilities a monopoly status in regulated territories, with an offer to communities a chance to municipalize if they can get to the Iowa Utilities Board. However, in order to get there, communities have to go against the very utility that controls their service territory and who will fight them at every step of the way. Investor-owned utilities have tremendous financial resources, ironically built off the community electric rates for which they serve. They can use these funds to outspend any small community who tries to municipalize. Investor-owned utilities are also able to hide behind laws, that protect their proprietary information from elected officials who otherwise regulate the affairs of the municipality.  Because of this, Alliant had no oversight for the claims they were making. Because of this, neither our own city council, nor our community, could have the ability to properly evaluate the claims that Alliant was making in order to make a more clearly informed vote.

But, perhaps the greatest take away from this election, more important than the outcome of this vote, is how passionate and interested our community can be--voter turnout was huge. We could choose to look at this vote as a community divided or we can choose to see a highly engaged and passionate community. We prefer to see the latter and each of us involved in Decorah Power are committed to finding ways for our engaged and passionate community to build common values that will move us forward together to more community-driven resilient future."

Alliant Energy also released a statement following the recount:

""On behalf of the 17 local employees who serve the Decorah area, Alliant Energy thanks the record number of voters who participated in this election.  The results will allow us to continue serving the community with the safe, reliable, and increasingly clean energy our customers have come to expect."