Traverse City Light & Power Utility Restructuring Question (November 2010)
this measure seeks to restructure the Traverse City Light and Power utility so that it would be under to control of the city commission. This measure would essentially make it a department of the city. Lack of transparency and decision control over the utility led to a petition drive to get this issue on to the November ballot. Currently Light and Power has its own seven member board and makes decision on an independent basis. Other council members noted that a public vote may not be the best option to solve the problems and feel that other ideas should be discussed first.
Some residents feel that more control over the utility would benefit them, keeping better track of what is decided. But others are not sure the city is up for the task of running the utility. The utility use to be a part of the city government until 1979 when residents voted to make it independent. The goal then was to give city commissioners less issue to deal with and let a board with more specific knowledge deal with the utility. If this measure is approved, changes would be made to the board, downsizing is also a probably result. Former Mayor Dodd of the city stated that those on the board currently would stay there, nothing would change in the way it is run it would just be accountable to the city commission instead of being independent as it is now. The current Mayor on the other hand does not think putting the board under commission control would be prudent and would prefer they remain independent.