Muni costs Boulder thousands every day

The true costs of municipalization need to be fully understood and a centerpiece of Boulder’s new communications and engagement tactics. Engagement tactics strikes me as a poor substitute for the word transparency. People are interested in the truth, and engaging them with propaganda will only fool half of us, as the elections have demonstrated.

I was invited to join the new community working group. I signed up and haven’t heard back. So let me continue to communicate with you, the public, and engage you with the sad facts of the muni.

The lost undergrounding is a true cost of the muni. As part of a franchise, Xcel offers to spend about 1 percent of the city revenues on undergrounding. In Boulder’s case, it amounted to about $1.2 million per year. Since the city gave up the franchise to pursue the muni, the city no longer has access those funds. There is no specific tax associated with the undergrounding; it is just part of Xcel’s operating budget. Those funds are specifically reserved for those cities with a franchise. Those funds are lost specifically, directly and sadly because of the muni. They must be added to true costs of the muni.

Now for a perspective on what the daily cost of the muni really is, including undergrounding. The average daily cost of the muni for the last seven years is over $10,500 per day. The average daily cost for just 2018, based on the city’s estimate, is over $16,100 per day. The three-month delay in the muni, to work out the details of separation costs and assets, will cost the “exploration” over $1.5 million — just a fraction of the $27 million spent by the “exploration.” Worse, the deceptive spreadsheet provided by the city forgets over $500 million in probable costs.

By Patrick Murphy, Boulder

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