Citizens Against Proposition 1 is almost at the $250,000 mark for campaign spending, outspending by a huge degree a group that supports the measure on Tuesday’s general election ballot in Jefferson County.
According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, the group has reported spending $244,964.48 as of Thursday.
The group hopes to convince voters to vote down Proposition 1, which would give the Jefferson County Public Utility District the authority to take over electrical service from Puget Sound Energy, which now provides electrical service to East Jefferson County.
Citizens For Local Power, which supports Proposition 1, had reported spending $28,006.81 as of Thursday.
Both figures include in-kind contributions.
All of Citizens Against Proposition 1 funding comes from PSE.
Contributions from PSE total $249,565.54.
PSE is funding similar campaigns in Skagit and Island counties.
Citizens For Local Power had received $28,217 in contributions.
The main contributions include:
• $6,490 from the Washington Public Utility District Association.
• $1,500 from Edwin Crosby of Minneapolis, Minn.
• $1,500 from John Dern of Nordland.
• $1,400 from Kevin Clark of Crestline, Calif.
• $1,000 from the Jefferson County Democratic Party.
• $500 from William Leavitt of Port Hadlock.
• $500 from Power Trip Energy Corp. in Port Townsend.
• $500 from John Weaver of Seattle.
Citizens Against Proposition 1’s main expenses that it has reported as of Thursday include:
• $152,497.94 on advertising.
• $45,383.81 for consulting.
• $14,092.09 on staff services and travel costs.
• $17,083 for opinion research.
PSE also provided $12,562.54 in in-kind contributions for staff services and a newspaper advertisement.
Citizens For Local Power’s main expenses that it has reported as of Thursday include:
• $10,661.13 for advertising through the mail.
• $7,593.19 for newspaper advertising.
In-kind contributions to Citizens For Local Power include:
• $6,381 from the Washington Public Utility District Association for conference calls, signs, staff consulting, a hotel stay, dinner meeting, and staff time.
• $240.69 from Graphic Details for Web page design.
The PUD presently provides water and sewer service to East Jefferson County.
If voters approve Prop. 1, and the PUD decides to go ahead with a takeover from PSE, the PSE infrastructure would cost between $30 million and $69 million, according to a PUD-sponsored report.
A similar report sponsored by PSE estimated such costs as between $77 million and $100 million.
A study conducted by Washington Policy Center found that switching electrical service to the PUD wouldn’t equate to cheaper or better service for customers.
Bill Wise, co-facilitator of Citizens For Local Power, criticized the center’s report for “gaffes” that included a statement that utility bills are taxes.
Wise said that PUDs operate at a cost and that taxes are basically not a factor.
He said there would be no loss or gain in taxes if the PUD had control over electrical power.
Wise also commented that the report widely quoted from PSE’s contracted feasibility study of the costs and ramifications of PUD acquiring it facilities in Jefferson County.
Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.