City purchases land for new power plant
Baldwin City has purchased some land for the new power plant, but it didn't happen without scrutiny from a former mayor.
On July 16, the Baldwin City Council approved in a 3-1 vote, with Council Member Ted Brecheisen voting against, the purchase of 45.6 acres of land for $294,000 from Nancy Richard south of Orange Street. Council Member Ken Wagner was absent from the meeting.
As part of the agreement, the city will have annual payments of $36,480 with 5 percent interest for 10 years for a total of $364,800.
Former Baldwin Mayor Stan Krysztof wanted to know why the council wanted to buy the 45 acres when it turned down the opportunity a few months ago to buy the adjacent 160 acres of land from Jim Faulkner for $590,000.
Krysztof said he wanted Council Members Todd Cohen and George McCrary and Mayor Ken Hayes to explain why, after not pursuing the purchase of the adjacent 160 acres, which the city had already invested $25,000 toward, they wanted to purchase land that would cost the city more money per acre.
"It's a known fact that 30 percent of that is wasteland," Krysztof said. "I think you three and the one that is absent need to adjust your thinking."
McCrary said the city wasn't interested in purchasing the 160 acres, which had been pursued by the previous council that he, Cohen and Hayes were not on.
"I don't think there's any way we could have utilized the 160 acres. We don't need 160 acres," he said.
"In 10 years we are going to own this land," McCrary said of the 45 acres. "This is a complete asset. Please allow us to make decisions and make adjustments."
Hayes said the purchase of the land, which is next to the wastewater treatment plant, was a logical decision.
"The infrastructure is in place," he said. "What we need is there or on the way.
"This will allow us to eliminate the presence of some of the services downtown so we can redevelop that area," he said. "This was considered in conjunction with the power plant."
But Brecheisen said he wasn't sure Krysztof didn't have some valid points.
"I'm not thrilled about the space we're purchasing, we've got a lot of wasteland," he said. "That 160 acres had a lot more usable space than the proposed buying area. I still think to this day we missed the boat on that."
He said some Baldwin residents would probably agree.
"I think there will be some ridicule," he said.
But Council Member Marilyn Pearse said the city needed to do something.
"We need a place to put additional power. We know we're going to need it," Pearse said. "Right now it's the best place we have for it."
In other business, the city council:
Approved in a 4-0 vote Utility Director Terry McKinney's three-year contract. McKinney's initial salary is $84,000 with a 1 percent salary adjustment to be made at the end of each of the three years. McKinney must also become a resident of Baldwin within six months of signing his contract.
Approved in a 4-0 vote a contract with Lutz, Daily and Brain to provide engineering services to construct a new electric generation power plant for $295,000.
Approved in a 4-0 vote a list of streets for overlay paving. The streets included are Tenth Street from High Street south to Orange Street, Orange Street from Tenth to Eighth streets and Eighth Street from Orange to Newton streets.