PUEBLO, Colo. — On Monday, Pueblo City Council unanimously voted to allow the people of Pueblo to decide whether or not they want to leave the city’s current electricity provider to form its own public utility.
The contract the city has with Black Hills Energy has been debated since many people have complained about high prices in their utilities.
During a meeting last month, City Council shut down the deal Black Hills Energy offered to the city, where the company was offering a five-year rate freeze, but not a rate reduction.
The decision will now go to the citizens in a special election in Pueblo on May 5.
Putting together special elections is the job of the county clerk and recorder Gilbert Ortiz and his staff.
“It’s really having more hands on deck,” said Ortiz. “My poor employees are going to have a hard time scheduling a vacation this year.”
The cities of Pueblo West and Colorado City we’re already hosting a special election on May 5, so the Clerk and Recorders Office was anticipating to send out about between 30,000 and 40,000 ballots.
However, now that voters in the city of Pueblo are also having a special election, Ortiz’ office now has to prepare and send out 70,000 additional ballots.
“It’s not so much voter service and polling locations that are going to have to build up for this, it’s going to be people to work the ballots,” said Ortiz. “So, when the ballots come in they are going to be. sorted deconstructed then counted. We were planning on having a skeleton crew, its going to make it a much bigger operation.”
Ortiz said they’ll need more election judges, but all of this will be paid for by the city.
If you use the cost of last year’s special election that means the city has to pay about $150,000 for this election. A bill the city spokesperson Debra Hill said is paid for by the City Clerk’s Professional Services fund.
Pueblo election staff are preparing for these upcoming elections:
- March 3 – Presidental Primary
- May 5 – Special Election for municipalizing Pueblo’s power
- June 30 – State Primary
- Nov 3 – General Presidental Election