City council approves two electrical matters
Baldwin City Council members approved two items regarding utilities, one coming soon and another in the future, during Monday's meeting.
Starting in May, residents will receive their bills on the 10th of the month and they'll be due on the 25th. Previously, bills were sent on the 25th and due on the 10th. For the first month, a grace period will be instituted to ease the transition.
"To smooth that transition, we're going to waive late fees for the first month of the change," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman.
That means residents won't be charged additional money until June 4. However, if the bill isn't paid by then, shut off procedures will begin.
The change was made because of the reduced time it takes to read the meters now and gives a better billing cycle. Council President Amy Cleavinger also had another billing concern.
"How quickly can we get the level pay in place?" said Cleavinger.
"Late spring, early summer we could get that going," said Dingman.
As to the future electrical item, the council approved a study for an analysis of the system, the rate structure, load forecast and potential requirement for building an additional electric substation in the next few years.
The study will be done in three phases and Olsson and Associates of Lincoln, Neb., was awarded the bid. The company had a $44,100 bid for two of the phases and $131,200 for the other. Two of the phases of the project will determine the need for the other.
Both Dingman and Rob Culley, power plant foreman, told the council that the need for a new substation is getting greater as the city's electrical load increases.
"This is something we need to think about now," said Culley. "We don't want to get behind the eight ball like we did in the 1990s."
The council had numerous questions regarding the study, but ultimately passed it unanimously.
"We've got to do something to lower electric rates in this town," said Council Member Ken Wagner. "It makes it easier for me to spend $44,000 out of the utility to get cheaper power in the future."
"Power's never going to get cheaper," said Council Member Ted Brecheisen, Jr.