October 8, 2014

Sticker shock

Generator cost surprises council

By STU MERRY

More steps have been taken toward a new water tower and infrastructure upgrades for the City of Garrison.

At their meeting Monday night, council members passed three separate resolutions related to the project. The resolutions included:

Creating a water system improvement district and water and sewer district; second - approving plans and specs for the water improvement district and water and sewer district; and, third - authorizing bid advertising. The bid opening is set for Oct. 30 at 2 p.m., with the other slated for 2:30 in council chambers.

While that action went smoothly, the council appeared to be caught off-guard when during his cost breakdown Moore Engineer’s Brian Julius said three variable speed stand-by emergency generators would be needed. The estimated cost – $650,000.

He explained the emergency generators would be for the water treatment plant, intake structure and at the tower site, which the council understood. But it was the cost that surprised them.

The council had planned to budget $30,000 for a stand-by generator, but struck the item from the 2015 budget when it heard the cost of a generator could be included in the tower/infrastructure bid.

With both projects estimated to cost $4.6 million, Julius told the council he estimates a $60,000 yearly shortfall, and suggested creating a special water assessment district that would spread the cost over a 20-year period. He also suggested raising water rates, but the council applied the brakes, saying rates were just increased, which would offset infrastructure costs. Funding from the state is possible, but not having an outlay of money for water projects the past four years has put the city in limbo for grant dollars.

Council members talked among themselves, wondering if the project should be scaled back. It was noted that Garrison Rural Water District’s share of the cost was not included. No other action was taken.


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