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Hudson voters OK sale of municipal utility
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Hudson voters OK sale of municipal utility

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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.

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Hudson Municipal Electric Utility

The Hudson Municipal Electric Utility is looking to sell and has asked the city to hold a referendum on Sept. 14.

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.

Wessel said 50% of the proceeds from the sale will go back to HMEU’s customers as a rebate. The City Council will now work to finalize the sale and the distribution of its proceeds.

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