$4 million repair to gas turbine approved

By Sam Wildow - swildow@aimmedianetwork.com

NOTE: This is part two in a two-part series covering the Tuesday, Dec. 15, Piqua City Commission meeting.

PIQUA — For the final Piqua City Commission of the year, the commission went over a number of end of year items that included one emergency ordinance and 16 new resolutions, including amending the repair cost for the Piqua Power System’s No. 9 gas turbine to approximately $4 million.

The approved resolution amended the total payment to Sulzer Turbo Services for the required repairs to #9 gas turbine from an already approved $1 million to an estimated amount of $4 million. Of that amount, $400,000 will be paid in 2015 and the remaining $3.6 million will be paid in 2016.

“The city owns and operates two combustion turbines,” Krieger said.” They’re strategic assests for the city. They’re old, vintage machines.” The No. 9 turbine they are repairing is from 1965.

“Right now we’re saving our customers an excess of $1.6 million in dollars in our gas bills because we have these turbines available,” Krieger said.

“So even though we’re spending a lot of money on these turbines, we still think it’s cost effective to our customers to keep them running?” Terry said.

Krieger stated, “Definitely.” Krieger explained that this invest is probably a two-year payback due to the cost savings on the power bills. He also stated that buying one new would be five times the cost to repair the one that they have.

The commission then went on to approve a number of other resolutions in regard to the Piqua Power System in order for the city to continue providing electrical service in 2016.

The commission began with a resolution acquiring the services of American Electric Power (AEP) to provide professional development training for personnel of the Piqua Power System for 2016. Director Ed Krieger of the Piqua Power System explained that this resolution was for the training of their linemen. The power system currently has five apprentices. According to Krieger, the total training cost to send all five apprentices to AEP’s Line Training in 2016 will be $27,000.

The commission then approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to apply for city membership to American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP). The cost of membership is $75,000 and was included in the 2016 Piqua Power System’s budget.

The commission then approved a resolution retaining the services of Cooperative Response Center, Inc. (CRC) to provide professional customer call answering and dispatch services for the power system at a cost not to exceed $30,000.

The commission then approved the next resolution authorizing the city purchasing agent to purchase #2 fuel oil on the open and spot market as needed for the power system’s combustion gas turbines in 2016, and $100,000 was budgeted for that resolution. When commissioner Judy Terry asked if their customers were benefiting from lower gas prices, Krieger explained that they were.

“We actually have the lowest electric rates in southwest Ohio,” Krieger said. “And that includes all of the investor-owned and the (co-operatives).”

The commission then approved:

• A resolution retaining the services of Sawvel and Associates to provide professional consulting and engineering services for the power system not to exceed $60,000

• A resolution authorizing a purchase order to Nelson Tree Service, Incorporated for electric power line clearance not to exceed $235,000

• A resolution acquiring Power System Engineering, Inc. to provide professional services, including automated meter reading, to the city not to exceed $40,000

The commission then went on to approve entering into an agreement with EMH & T for engineering design services for the Garbry Road and Looney Road Intersection Improvement Project on a vote of 4-1. Wilson voted against the agreement.

The city of Piqua received a $1.06 million grant from the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission for this project. The grant can reportedly only be used for the construction of the project, which is estimated at $1.42 million.

“This project would include the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Garbry and Looney Road,” city engineer Amy Havenar said.

As noted, the engineering costs of the majority of the city’s federally funded projects have to be paid for with local funds. The contract was approved for the engineering design services was $184,000 with a 10 percent contingency. The funds will be taken out of the city’s street fund that is specifically for street improvement projects.

“What will we not do to fund this?” Wilson asked.

Havenar and City Manager Gary Huff explained that this has been budgeted for a couple years and will not necessarily take away from other projects in the city.

“It would not be taking away from our street paving,” Huff mentioned.

One community member who works within the city spoke before the commission with concerns about the condition of Garbry Road that goes past Garbry Ridge Assisted Living and connects with State Route 36.

“While I can the big picture of a roundabout there, I’m concerned about putting the cart before the horse,” community member Valerie Mulligan said. “That road is in horrible, horrible condition.”

“We have a lot of roads that need paving, and we’re going to be paving those,” Huff said. Huff stated that the city has gotten behind on paving streets, but he assured her that the city will be repaving as many of the roads that are in disrepair as possible each year.

In connection with the same project, the commission approved the resolution authorizing preliminary legislation with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the programming of the intersection improvement project in the city of Piqua on a vote of 4-1. Wilson also voted against this resolution.

The commission then approved the remaining items on their last 2016 meeting agenda:

• Waiving the three reading rule and passing an emergency ordinance to make appropriations for the city of Piqua for the year 2015

• A resolution authorizing the transfer of cash from the general fund to the other funds for the fiscal year 2015 as well as the a transfer of cash from the general fund to the other funds for the fiscal year 2016.

• A resolution authorizing purchase orders to Chemical Services Inc., Mississippi Lime Company, F2 Industries, Air Products & Chemicals, Water Solutions Unlimited and the city of Dayton for the 2016 purchase of various water treatment chemicals with a total cost of $291,505 budgeted for 2016

• A resolution awarding a contract to Pohlkat Inc. in the amount not to exceed $150,000 annually for removal and disposal of lime residual from the city of Piqua Water Plant Lime Lagoon for 2016-2018

• A resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a Business First! Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with Montgomery County and member jurisdictions

• A resolution supporting the Fiscal Year 2016 United States Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Cleanup Grant Program application

By Sam Wildow


Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall