I urge the citizens of Pueblo to vote “no” on the ballot question 2A. This is one of the most important issues facing our community in the last 10 years with implications that have far-reaching consequences.

There are those that want to kick Black Hills Energy out of our community, no matter the facts and no matter the cost. This issue has become an emotional roller coaster that only clouds this very complicated ballot question.

It also has become a cause. Many Individuals in our city made up their minds at the beginning of the process with the intent of gathering only that information that would validate their initial premise.

On March 21, 2019, when the Electric Utility Commission voted to approve and recommend the Phase II study, the Pueblo Energy Future organization in its newsletter stated: “Now is the time to strike. It’s time to say, Adios Black Hills.”

This was done prior to the Phase II study even being started.

We also have individuals and organizations, including some Electric Utility Commission members, who have been pushing the city to municipalize who have no skin in the game. In other words, they’re saying: City of Pueblo taxpayers, you pay for everything and we will sit back and see what happens.

I have been studying this issue for nearly two and half years and the conclusion is clear. Our own consultant, EES Consulting president and Chief Executive Officer Gary Saleba said it best and admitted on October 28, 2019 during a question I asked during our work session, on the analysis on the Phase II study, that in his company’s 35 years of operation, it had never taken a community like Pueblo with a similar population from A to Z in seeing a successful electric utility takeover by a municipal government.

We also have the Concentric Energy Advisors study that has provided information that in the last 20 years, of the communities in the United States that have considered municipalization, only eight have been successful and all of them had much smaller populations than Pueblo and seven of them are on the Pacific Coast.

This is not Black Friday where everyone is rushing to this great sale. Do not be fooled. This is not the panacea the other side would have you believe.

It is interesting that no one disputes that Black Hills Energy has not been doing a good job of reliability and consistency of service. No one talks about the $40 million impact on our economy with payroll, taxes, franchise fees and donations.

What about the 100-plus employees and their families? What happened to getting rid of coal and getting to clean energy by 2035?

Black Hills has gotten rid of coal and with the construction of its new solar, wind and battery facility, the company will get Pueblo to 65 percent clean energy by 2022.

This is not the time to go down an uncertain road of five to eight years and spending $10 million, $20 million and more and hoping this will all work out.

It is a time to be wide eyed and sober.

On May 5, vote “no” on ballot issue 2A.

Dennis Flores is the president of the Pueblo City Council.