HUDSON — By a margin of more than 10-1, voters in Hudson said they believe the city’s municipal utility should be sold.
Just 471 voters of 1,866 — or 25.24% — participated in the special election to determine the future of the Hudson Municipal Electric Utility, which provides service to most of Hudson. The results: 444 voted for the sale, 27 against.
In July, the Hudson City Council unanimously approved holding the special election after an appointed task force, which had been studying selling the utility for at least two years, recommended selling.
Mayor George Wessel has contended that the utility will struggle to remain solvent in the long-term due to the cost of its contract with power supplier Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative and the lack of expansion opportunities.
Utility board of trustees chair Wanda Birdsong said the sale was considered because some businesses and citizens complained to the mayor directly, but that the utility itself hadn’t received many complaints. She noted that HMEU’s rates are higher than others because the others don’t include the additional fees they charge.
Mid-American Energy had submitted in July a proposal to purchase the utility for $3.81 million. HMEU’s value had been appraised at $3.4 million to $3.76 million.