Public Works Board accepts bids, department directors provide updates
One bid and one proposal for service were accepted at the Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works meeting Thursday, April 14.
The board voted to accept a bid from RAM Utilities for the performance of pole inspections, for which five separate bids were received. RAM's bid included the following prices $4.75 per visual inspection or $8.90 for an inspection with a partial dig, $12.75 for an internal treatment and $35.90 for a full excavation and treatment.
Electric Distribution Director Jeff Bergstrom said a reason he decided to recommend RAM's bid to the board was the option for an inspection to include a partial dig.
"They'll actually dig down to get below the ground, which in my mind is a better inspection than inspecting the ground line," Bergstrom said. "Also, the data they provided. In the reporting, they would provide a shapefile with all the [Geographic Information System] coordinates. They would, even though we have GIS locations, they would go ahead and re-GIS the pole locations, provide a shapefile for us, and also an excel spreadsheet with all the pole data on it."
The total cost of the project will vary based on the amount of treatment the poles require, though an estimated $20,000 was budgeted for the project.
Also, the board voted to accept a proposal from Terracon Consultants to perform geo-technical engineering services for the constructions of MMU's new warehouse and wastewater treatment plant maintenance shop at a total cost of $9,400. This action adds to the costs the board previously agreed to contract Shafer, Kline & Warren for other engineering services.
Environmental Services Director Ginny Ismay reported the water treatment plant continued to await word from the Department of Natural Resources concerning its compliance status, following the most recent violation of the maximum contaminant level. In August 2015, MMU began working to construct a new water treatment system to reduce the level of Trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water supply.
Ismay reported plans for the new system were sent to DNR on Feb. 12, but are still awaiting approval after DNR began reviewing the plans on March 23. Ismay said DNR cited having to deal with a lot of employee turnover, and was asking for patience concerning the resulting delays.
General Manager Kyle Gibbs reported meeting with the Missouri Public Energy Pool and ConAgra representatives concerning the food product company's green initiative. ConAgra plans to switch to 20 percent green energy by 2020.
"They told us at this meeting, right now they're standing at zero," Gibbs said. "They're putting anything out at the table from building their own solar farm themselves here, applying credits, us supplying it, and buying credits from the MoPEP pool. There's a lot of different avenues they can take. ...If they were to elect to say, build their own solar panel array here on their property, they can do that up to a point that they don't push back on us."
Privately owned solar arrays can be used to produce energy to power their homes and facilities, but any excess energy gets fed into the utility company's grid and the company must reimburse the owner of the array for the energy at a rate generally higher than the market rate. Hence, regulations on the size of private arrays exist to protect utility companies from paying for an overabundance of energy at an above market rate.
"They're not ruling that out," Gibbs said. "They might want to build a solar farm here. We don't know. This was just a brainstorming meeting."
Gibbs also reported members of the city of Marshall testified against Senate Bill 946 in the Missouri legislature the previous week. The bill could potentially limit future broadband Internet services offered by municipalities in the future. Others testifying against the bill included representatives of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance and Google. Gibbs said the bill would likely not make it through the senate this year unless it were attached to another bill.