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YES vote stands after canvass — but Alliant to request recount

November 17, 2017
Ross Bercik - Managing Editor , Traer Star-Clipper

After a canvass of last week's gas utility vote to include the provisional and absentee ballots, the margin remains the same with the YES campaign ahead by seven - but Alliant Energy has indicated plans to request a recount.

Of the nine outstanding ballots - four of which were absentee and five of which were provisional - four provisional ballots were counted with two YES votes and two NO votes. None of the absentee ballots arrived. The updated total now stands at 269 YES, 262 NO.

Alliant Energy's Mike Wagner says the company plans to request a recount.

"Based on the very small difference in votes, it is in our customer's best interest to recount the ballots to verify the final count," Wagner said. "If the vote count stands and the condemnation process is started, the expense to the citizens of Traer's will be significant. Utilizing the recount process assures that the community's wishes have been heard on such a costly matter."

Assuming the YES vote stands, Traer Municipal Utilities can now move forward with the process of pursuing condemnation of the natural gas infrastructure, with the eventual goal of local ownership of the gas utility.

Pat Stief, general manager of TMU, is looking forward to taking the next step.

"We are confident that the vote count from Tuesdays election will stand in our favor despite the recount Alliant is requesting," Stief said. "TMU is prepared to move forward with the condemnation process to determine the fair market value of the gas franchise."

The process, which could take several months, is something Stief and other local leaders in favor of a YES vote have factored into their cost analysis prior to the vote.

"As we prepare to take the next steps, we need to remind everyone that the costs of getting to this point and continuing to the point of ownership are included in the calculations contained in the feasibility study," Stief said.

"We have repeatedly stated that if it is determined not to be a feasible, smart investment for Traer's future, we simply will not proceed. Based on the results of the feasibility study and two separate system appraisals, we are confident we can provide competitive, reliable and safe gas service to the citizens of Traer."



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