Oppose issuance of revenue bonds without voter approval

We oppose Senate Bill 43, which would lift restrictions requiring municipal-owned utilities to seek approval from the city’s voters on a referendum to issue revenue bonds for electric transmission assets.

Dalton Utilities is allowed to issue bonds for natural gas, water and wastewater projects but cannot do so for electric utility assets. Dalton Utilities owns 1.6 percent of the costly Plant Vogtle expansion project has argued that it needs to issue revenue bonds to fulfill its obligation for remaining construction (as of 2018, Dalton had already spent $160 million on the Vogtle project, with $80 million remaining to be spent). Current law, however, requires a public vote before revenue bonds can be issued. Dalton wants to circumvent this requirement and put Dalton residents on the hook to pay for the expensive Vogtle project.

Georgia Watch opposes legislation that would have allow a local utility to issue revenue bonds for electric projects without a vote of approval from residents. Dalton residents deserve to have their say.

Past Georgia Legislation and Activity: In 2018, H.B. 924 never made it to the House floor, but separate legislation (H.B. 189 and S.B. 484) surfaced in the state Senate days before the session drew to a close. They passed the Senate 31-13 on March 30, 2018, the last day of the 40-day session, but faced opposition in the House, including from those whom Dalton’s board chairman was hoping to get on board, and never made it to the floor before the midnight deadline.