Hercules Municipal Utility Has Drained City Coffers
HMU rates are higher because the utility's growth has been balanced essentially on the backs of residential ratepayers and taxpayers. Over the past decade, Hercules has spent more than $16 million building a utility that today consists of little more than nine miles of underground cable, switching boxes and a vacant piece of land that was supposed to house a substation.
It is an enterprise awash in IOUs. In the process of serving 840 customers, the utility has saddled Hercules with more than $13 million in bond debt. And since 2003, Hercules' redevelopment agency has loaned the utility almost an equal amount of money -- this in a town of only 24,000 residents that has a general fund budget of just $14 million.
Wow. It appears that a city can be run as badly as an HOA.