Tuesday night the Ellinwood City Council met to hear progress on two projects that affect buildings in the city, and receive an update on developments with the Kansas Power Pool.
Revisiting last month’s new business item, replacement of the Scout cabin roof, City Manager Bud Newberry reported he received bids obtained by a committee of area Scout leaders from three area contractors, two from Ellinwood and one from Great Bend. A local business person with ties to the Boy Scouts has offered to donate all construction materials. Newberry said he has questions about all three, but hasn’t had time to visit individually with the contractors. Ellinwood Scout master Scott Reeser requested Newberry allow him to be involved in the decision process, something the city manager is open to. He asked the council as a courtesy to allow him to move forward on the project after working out the details, as it appears the project will be less than the $2,500 he can spend at his discretion. After Mayor Irlan Fullbright clarified the preference should go to an Ellinwood contractor if all are close, the council conceded to his request.
Newberry, in his city manager’s report, said he met the day before with Mark and Cassie Batchmans, completing the purchase of the building at 104 N. Main. He also anticipates Nelson Stone resuming the demolition of the property on the corner of First and Main either at the last part of this week or by the first part of next week. A contractor is standing by to repair the south wall after the demolition is complete.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think we’re getting pretty close now,” Newberry said.
Power pool update
Mark Chesney, Kansas Power Pool representative, was introduced. He spoke about the anticipated EPA clean power plan and what it means to pool and therefor to the city. With the plan targeting coal-fired generation, lawsuits are “coming out of the woodwork,” he said.
That’s because more than 50 percent of the energy consumed in the country comes from coal.
Chesney gave the council a breakdown of the types of energy generation within the pool. With some contracts coming to an end with power plants around the state, and several coal plants slated to be retired or replaced in the coming years, it’s no surprise the state has decided to implement it’s own plan rather than adopt the federal plan. Chesney will attend a rate forum Friday where the pool will look at a proposed budget and rates for 2016.
Of particular interest to Fullbright and members of the council was how wind energy fits into the power pool’s portfolio. Recently, it began taking power from the Greensburg wind energy field, and in February signed a contract to take 25 watts of a project in Marshall county. Construction of that field will begin Jan. 1. It will provide a fixed price to the pool for 20 years.
“Wind energy from time to time does have some adverse market pricing,in the low $30 (per megawatt hour) range,” Chesney said. The pool negotiated a contract that assures the developer assume the risk, not pool members. That puts the pool at 20 percent of renewable in the portfolio. There will be more opportunities for wind, as well as solar as technology improves into the future, he said.
Other discussion and actions taken included:
* Fullbright issued a Veteran’s Day Proclamation on behalf of the city, at the request of the Ellinwood American Legion.
* A visitor, Terry Boor, addressed the council during visitor’ comments to offer encouraging words about results she has noticed as the community comes together. She also asked what progress the city was making with the property at the corner of First and Main. This was addressed as part of the City Manager report.
* Approved a request to purchase a pickup truck to replace one that had broken down and was sold for scrap earlier this year. The newer truck, a 2007 Dodge, will go to the power plant, and in turn, an older truck from the power plant will be transferred to the water plant.
* Newberry reported the Barton County Commission requested only minor technical fixes to the city’s proposed neighborhood revitalization plan, and approval is expected Monday. From there, it will be sent to the state for finalization.
* The KDOT project completion date has been moved back to sometime in the spring due to work on the utility relocation project.
* Installation of Christmas decorations gifted to the city by the Grandin family last year will depend on the help of volunteers this year, as the city’s utility workers are behind due to the utility relocation project. Some local groups, including the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce, have expressed some interest in organizing the effort.
* A 10-minute executive session was entered into for the purpose of discussing matters of attorney/client privilege. The discussion included the city attorney, city clerk and council. No action was taken, and upon entering back into regular session, the meeting was adjourned.