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The consent agenda is something that normally has no discussion, but this one has a few items that are of note and *will* take council time, including the Xcel/Boulder deal.
Reminder: There is going to be a special meeting for the public hearing on this. Thursday, Aug. 20.…
That's tentative.
Another reminder: This is just an agreement in principle. The actual language of the agreement is not yet public.
Carr: My plan is to have them public by the end of the week.
Friday is a furlough day for city staff.
Good to know. I better get all my interviews in early... *sigh*
Carr is going over the details, which have already been tweeted (by me) and written about (also by me) so you can just read that, mk?
One thing that might change: When Boulder wants to opt out of a franchise (it will get 6 chances in 20 years to do so) they now have 30 days to call up that vote of the people or council.

Carr recommends expanding that to a few months.
In talking about what data Xcel will share with Boulder, Carr says "we're getting way out of my depth."

Exactly how I feel trying to dive into the finances of this thing... Im.Possible.
And I'm, like, smart
Friend: How many pages are we going to be looking at?
Carr: Settlement agreement is 14 pages, single-spaced.
Another agreement: 16 pages
Another one: 10
Another: Slightly longer

So under 100, Carr confirms
That's a relief.
Although it took me 2 days to read through 41 pages of instructions to use the city's financial forecast tool for the muni so....
Wallach: Can we get Xcel to agree to "keep their hands off our elections?"
Carr: There is a provision that they will not make campaign contributions in Boulder this year.
Wallach: Just this year? What about opt-outs?
Carr: That's not in there but we can talk about it.
Wallach: How much can council amend what's presented?
Carr: "Council has to be confident in what we're doing and comfortable with what you want."
Wallach: "If we wanted to buy an extra month or so" to vote on the muni deal, can we call a special election in December or January? What might that cost?
Carr: I think so. There are costs associated with that.
"The Dif between a general election and special election is substantial," he says. "You want to think about that."
Carr: This deal came together bc we gave Xcel a hard deadline. It had to be done in order to have an hearing in the third week of August.
Joseph: I'm concerned about a special election. What would be the benefit? I know turnout this November will be impacted by COVID, but we have more people voting in a general election.
And also, if we don't do it this November, why wouldn't we wait until next November? That's when turnout will be higher. (Joseph says)
Carr: It's a political q. There are vast differences in turnout, especially during a presidential election "in who votes."
Brockett: What about our ability to exit? Does Xcel have any way of contesting, or is that a cut-and-dry vote of council or the ppl?
Carr: The any reason opt-outs are that. The other ones, for Xcel's carbon reduction goals, have specific triggers.
Carr: But this is happening fast. "I would like a month to draft this agreement and we're doing it in a matter of days."
Nagle with "information I just received from someone in the community."
It's dumb.
Carr with a clarification: State law provides outs at 10 and 15 years. This agreement with Xcel is a contractual arrangement that gives us more opportunities to leave. "It would be difficult for a court to allow a challenge on this."
Young: Say we did take an exit. What does the next day look like?
Carr: There are 30 paragraphs in the section about how we opt out. There are detailed steps.
"We're not going to be in exactly the same place" as we are today, but there are provisions that make it a little easier to move forward with municipalization if we opt out.
Locking in the list of assets that the PUC approved, so we don't have to go back there; how are we dealing with substations; limiting what costs of Xcel's we pay for, etc.
Young: If we go out of franchise in the future, we'd lose that franchise fee from Xcel. But we woudn't have the UOT, so how do we address that? We'd need money.
Carr: I'd recommend putting measures on the ballot to replace the franchise fee and fund municipalization like we did in 2020 and 2011 (respectively)

Or the city could donate other $$ to it.
Young: When COVID hit, we were having trouble financing the project. (Remember: muni was going to borrow $$ from the general fund this year but decided not to)
Carr: Steve Catanach and his excellent team "reworked the budget" to avoid that. The tax is a fixed amount, so it's not affected by the economy at all.
"It's one of our few revenue streams in the city that wasn't affected by COVID 19. ... This is expensive, so we'll need to find a way to fund it if the community wants to go forward with municipalization in the future."
Young: So the option would be fees (no voter OK required, but usually a NEXUS study is done) or taxes?
Carr: Yes.
Swetlik asks Carr to clarify Xcel spending on campaigns, not allowed this year under the agreement. The restriction is limited to "reportable" contributions.
Carr: It's intended to cover any monetary or in-kind contribution.
Swetlik: That's by Xcel as a company itself?
Carr: Yes.
Yates: "Work with Xcel to give us a reasonable period of time in each of those various outs. ... to give future councils or the community time to exercise decisions."
And second change council wants Carr to pursue: Ban Xcel from interfering in any future elections, not just this one, related to opting out of the franchise.
Second item related to this: Should council ask the voters to repurpose and/or extend the UOT even if we got back under franchise with Xcel? That would pay for projects to get us to 100% renewable energy by 2030 (vs. 80% with Xcel)
Again, you can read about this in my story. I'll post it again for you so you can be lazy and not scroll.…
You can have a link, as a treat.
So council will consider two ordinances: One that repurposes the tax from muni to other projects, and one to repurpose AND extend the tax through 2030.

That would be an 8-year extension. The UOT is set to expire in 2022.
Well, technically a 0-year extension, bc it will automatically cease to exist once we're under franchise with Xcel. Assuming voters OK in November, that happens Jan. 1, 2021.
Nagle again sharing completely dumb and wrong information that "she was told" by an unnamed person.
Whoever this person is, EDUCATE YA SELF.
I'm sorry. I know this is confusing.
The clarification is: Voters have to OK the repurposing and extension. Council can't do that itself.
Wallach: Is there an argument to be made that we don't have to ask the voters for permission to continue the tax? Bc we've not ended the muni, we're just pausing it?
Carr: There is, but Boulder is conservative in how we spend taxpayers money.
(Pause for laughter)
In this talk on the muni, Carr keeps making points that sound *awful familiar* to ones made in the discussion over ballot initiatives.

"The trust of the voters depends on us honoring their intent."
I missed a really good Brockett q and Carr response that had to do with equity and means-testing.

But Carr made a point about inability pay utilities often being the start of a path to homelessness.
Inability TO pay*
Yates: We also have a Climate Action Plan tax that sunsets in 2022 or 2023, right?
Carr: Yes
Yates: That's independent of the franchise?
Carr: Yes
Yates making the point that we could repurpose the CAP tax instead of the UOT
Carr: My understanding is the CAP tax is fully committed to doing some of the things we're already doing to reduce emissions, which have been incredibly effective.
Steve Catanach, director of climate initiatives: Part of our concern would certainly be taking $$ away from those programs in order to support some of the projects we're proposing, which will require funding as well.
Yeah, but, that $$ is expiring anyway.... You can't just assume you'll have it.

Although, given Boulder's history of extending taxes, yeah, you kinda can.
Reminder: This is a first reading. No vote of council, just feedback.

Public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 20.
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