An Early History of the Nixa Electric Department
The Nixa Electric Utility began as an idea in July of 1964. Due to the increasing interests and questions from citizens for a municipal owned electrical system, the Nixa city council held a public meeting on the issue on July 10, 1964 in the gymnasium of the Nixa High School. This was such a key issue of the time, the attendance filled the high school gymnasium. It was decided that night that this very issue would be taken to the polls on Tuesday, August 4 to allow the citizens to vote on the new utility. The voters would be deciding on whether to pass the issuance of a $265,000 revenue bond for the construction of a new transmission and distribution system for the City.
Two days later, August 6, 1964, the headline of The Christian County Republican was “Nixa Rejects Bond Issue”. Nixa reported a record crushing voter turnout of 525 voters. A 4/7th majority was necessary to pass, but the measure failed by a mere 7 votes. Nixa City Council went back to work immediately, calling a special session the Wednesday night following the vote. They decided that night that another election would be held on August 28. The headline in the Republican was a bit different in the September issue. A new record turnout of 609 voters stormed the polls and approved the bond issue by 365 in favor and 244 opposed.
This was a very intense issue of its time and because of that it took nearly two years to begin the construction of the Nixa Transmission and Distribution system. Construction started on September 1, 1966 by Line builders Inc. of Kansas. The Nixa electric system was estimated to serve around 400 residential customers and 33 commercial customers. After failed negotiations for the purchase of wholesale power through Empire District Electric, Nixa secured a power contract with Southwest Power Administration that included the construction of a transmission line from the north side of Springfield to Nixa. When completed the transmission would supply Nixa with 12,000 volts. Finally, nearly 4 years after the initial vote in 1964 the Nixa Electric System was ready for service. So on Monday night, February 12, 1968, Nixa Mayor Kirk Hawkins activated the newly constructed transmission line. That very next day the City Clerk’s office was accepting applications for electrical service hookups.
50th Anniversary of the Nixa Electric Department
The City of Nixa celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Nixa Electric Department in October of 2018. Sam Hamra (who was the city attorney at the time of the establishment of the utility) was the guest speaker at the event held in Rotary Park. Mr. Hamra recounted the history of the legal battles surrounding the establishment of the utility, which rose to the attention of the U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson. Mayor Brian Steele delivered an introductory speech. Ewell Lawson, the Vice-President of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance also spoke. You can view all three speeches in the video below.