Pro- and anti-municipalization forces are more evenly matched at this point in a battle over competing charter amendments on municipal utility debt than they were in the 2011 election, though a large contribution from Xcel Energy has utility opponents ahead in fundraising.
Two years ago, when Boulder voters narrowly approved two measures that authorized the City Council to create a city electric utility and raised the occupation utility tax to pay for analysis of municipalization's feasibility, Xcel Energy outspent proponents of the utility 9 to 1.
Now, Boulder voters face two more charter amendments, Issue 310, which is supported by Xcel Energy and which backers of the utility contend would "kill" municipalization, and Issue 2E, which is supported by the Boulder City Council as a competing measure.
Campaign finance reports filed this week with the Boulder City Clerk's Office show that Voter Approval of Debt Limits, the committee working on behalf of 310, has raised a total of $322,000, most of that from a $300,000 donation from Xcel. The remainder was raised from Boulder residents and business owners.
Two groups working to defeat the Xcel-linked charter amendment have raised almost $250,000. Roughly $180,000 of that came from a crowdfunding campaign that raised money both locally and nationally. The Sierra Club also donated $50,000 to the two groups, as well as another $10,000 to its local chapter.
New Era Colorado Foundation made a $180,854 donation to its issue committee, Voters Against Xcel Buying Elections, with money raised through a crowdfunding campaign that went viral.
New Era made the donor list -- with more than 5,700 names on it -- available for download at neweracolorado.org. Most of the donations are less than $50, though there are some larger donations -- $1,000 and even $5,000 -- from donors who chose to remain anonymous.
That brings the total raised by New Era to $200,055.88.
So far, the committee has spent $39,949.95.
Of that, more than $20,000 went to Indiegogo, which hosted the crowdfunding campaign, for credit card transactions and platform fees.
Empower Our Future has raised $49,234.33 and spent $12,066.
The money came from Boulder residents and businesses, but also from donors as far away as Sweden.
That brings the total for the two groups to $249,289.
Voter Approval of Debt Limits has spend $166,868 on canvassing and polling research. Another $26,250 went for legal services. The group had to defend a challenge to its petition drive from New Era Colorado.
Katy Atkinson, the group's spokeswoman, was paid $2,000.
Xcel Energy has its own issue committee. This week's filings show a transfer through that committee from the company to Voter Approval of Debt Limits, as well as $7,920 in legal services to the same law firm using by Voter Approval of Debt Limits and $2,260 in employee labor.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.