Opponent Waffles on "Debt"

On my opponent's website, a recent post grossly misrepresents my fiscally conservative position that the PUD should not take on any more debt.  Mr. Brotherton states, “He rails against the big debt it took on to buy the electric assets from PSE."  This blind aversion to debt will harm the PUD if he's elected.

This assertion is a complete fabrication.  I challenge my opponent to document any such statement during this campaign that I have made.

I am glad that we purchased the electric utility from PSE and now have our power in our community's hands.  I am concerned, however, with a debt of over 100 million dollars that we do not increase that debt load.  My opponent appears to have no such concerns.

I support the PUD 100% and my number one goal is to help it to be successful. Debt can be considered if details for a reasonable return over a reasonable duration and at a reasonable interest rate can be identified to advance your strategic and capital planning.  If that process yields negative indicators, other actions must be considered.  Debt should be a tool of last resort if there are no other viable avenues to follow.  

Again my opponent talks of something he is in favor of yet fails to quantify or qualify why.  What is it he proposes?  On the topic of “Debt,” he consistently advocates in favor of adding more debt without giving justification for it, or, how it will improve the PUD's financial position. 

Hiding behind terms like “profit" does not change the numbers.  What is Tom Brotherton's idea of enough debt? At the Tuesday, October 16 PUD Board of Commissioners meeting on the proposed 2019 budget, the General Manager and the Commissioners had a very telling conversation about revenues and expenditures.  The manager informed them that if revenues for the 2019 cycle did not meet projections that the PUD would need to borrow money and/or raise rates.  I ask you, does this sound like an entity that is turning a profit?  Listen to the audio from that meeting if you don’t believe me.

Tom Brotherton touts himself as an entrepreneur. However, public utilities are not the same thing as a private enterprise. In the business world, you can take a risk, like debt, and fail, which is on you.  As an elected official you cannot gamble with the public trust and the public checkbook.  Mr. Brotherton has made statements that concern me and should concern you about a cavalier approach to finances.

Please contact your current PUD Commissioners. Ask them about the issues that I have addressed.

Dan Toepper, Candidate for Jefferson County PUD Commissioner


  1. Dan, my husband Charley Kanieski and I have been actively working to ensure the Port of Port Townsend takes a fiscally responsible and very transparent approach to financial management. We agree that with public entities, accurate revenue projections are critically important. Missing those projections should not be born by ratepayers or by taking on more debt! I'd managers can't accurately project revenues, get new managers.

    1. Typo above, last sentence. If managers can't accurately project revenues, get new managers.