A measure that allows Hercules to sell off its money-losing municipal utility won handily Tuesday, garnering better than three-quarters yes votes. Measure N needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

With all 13 precincts reporting, the vote count was 2,441, or 76.9 percent, for Measure N and 732, or 23.1 percent, against.

Proceeds from the sale would go toward paying the utility's debts and other obligations. Any excess would go into the general fund. Measure N authorizes, but does not obligate, the city to sell the utility. It could also lease it to an operator or continue to operate it itself.

Formed in 2001, the utility was expected to serve about 1,800 new homes and most, if not all, of the North Shore Business Park. Today, the utility serves 800 homes and part of the business park. It also serves the Pinole/Hercules wastewater treatment plant.

The utility was expecting to lose about $300,000 this fiscal year and $730,000 next fiscal year, primarily the result of unsustainable debt service and bond obligations.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760.



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