Author of city-owned utility resolution is reconsidering

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August 2, 2013 // UPDATED 9:35 am - August 5, 2013
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

City Council Member Cam Gordon said today he is reconsidering one, and perhaps both, of his resolutions that would move Minneapolis toward city-owned electric and gas utilities.

“I’m reflecting and re-evaluating,” said Gordon, who represents Ward 2. “One option is maybe it shouldn’t be on this (November’s) ballot.”

One of Gordon’s resolutions would put to voters this November the question of whether or not the city should “acquire the property of a public utility and to form a municipal electric utility.”

Another would ask the same question for taking over the gas utility that is currently run by CenterPoint Energy. Gordon said today he is also considering moving forward only with the electric utility resolution, since CenterPoint has already agreed to be more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m evaluating all my options,” Gordon said, noting that his resolution has promted Xcel Energy to begin meeting with Council members about renewable energy goals. 

A public hearing Thursday brought about one of the largest crowds for a city hearing in a few years. A majority of those who testified opposed a city-owned utility.

It’s still unclear how the City Council would vote on Gordon’s resolutions on Aug. 15. Ten members on June 28 voted to hold the public hearing, which could be interpreted as at least moderate interest in the idea.

Two of those ten — Robert Lilligren (Ward 6) and Meg Tuthill (Ward 10)— said today they are undecided on the resolutions because they need time to process what was said on Thursday and to hear from continued correspondence from their constituents. 

Tuthill, who is in a battle for her 10th Ward seat with challenger Lisa Bender, said she was disappointed at how few candidates for City Council showed up to Thursday’s hearing. Bender was not there.

“This is really big for people,” Tuthill said.

Linea Palmisano, who is running in Ward 13, was in attendance. So was mayoral candidate Dan Cohen.