Huge majorities of Destin residents oppose the city creating a government run electric service, want the people to decide the issue if needed and want the Destin City Council to stop spending money on the municipalization process, according to a new poll conducted by Family Businesses for Affordable Energy (FBAE).
The Destin City Council has been considering creating a government run electric service by buying the assets of the local utility service. According to the city’s own feasibility service, the cost of such a purchase would be $71 million or more.
The FBAE poll is the first poll to ask the residents of Destin their views on the matter.
The poll found that 88 percent of Destin residents say they would vote ‘No’ on creating a government run electrical service. Another 84 percent of residents believe that their city government should not be in the business of providing electrical services.
“We protect family businesses all over the nation and these are some of the strongest poll results FBAE have ever seen on any issue,” said Alex Ayers, executive director of FBAE. “The people of Destin are angry, and they are adamant: they say NO to a government run electric service and believe Destin cannot afford such a thing.
“Destin voters are sending a loud and clear message to the Mayor and the City Council. They don’t want a government run electric service, and spending money on this folly needs to stop now,” Ayers said.
Other findings include:
- 95 percent say the people should decide this issue in a referendum, not by a vote of the Destin City Council. Only 12 respondents out of 300 polled trust the Council to decide this issue.
- 85 percent of Destin residents believe the city cannot afford $71 million or more to purchase an electrical system.
- 88 percent are satisfied with their current electrical service.
In fact, every argument made by Destin city officials in favor of municipalization – creating profits for city projects, burying power lines, improved service and storm response – were met by opposition of 73 percent or more across the board. Destin residents simply do not believe what the City Council has to say on this issue.
Large majorities of residents believe that if Destin did buy an electrical system, taxes and power bills would increase, service and storm response would suffer and the city would risk financial ruin.
“There is universal opposition to a government run electric service, and representatives of the people need to listen to the people,” Ayers said.
The survey was conducted by Tel Opinion Research for the FBAE. The survey was conducted on November 6 and 7 of this year. The sample consisted of 300 registered voters with a 6 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.
The complete poll is available here.
The FBAE also responded to a column published November 10 in the Destin Log by Gulf Power representative Bernard Johnson. In the column, Johnson asked the FBAE to stop interfering in the Destin municipalization issue.
“Family Businesses for Affordable Energy works on behalf of family businesses, we do not need Gulf Power or the City’s permission to work to protect the interests of family businesses and we plan to continue to fight for the people of Destin on this important issue,” Ayers said. “We fight for family businesses all over the nation and a government run electric service will severely damage Destin businesses and customers. The findings of our poll make it absolutely clear we are on the side of the people in this fight. And we will not stop until this issue is settled.”