Monday, August 31, 2009
Financial Advisory Committee (Cont. #2)
(continued from previous post) 2. Electric Department Proposed 2010 expenditures include: Burying the main "backbone" transmission lines in the downtown area from Section St. to the Bay. Manager Scott Sligh: "Its a very large project the Mayor forced us to undertake." Sligh: "A 'system study' (hired consultants) to formulate a 5 year capital improvement plan . . . to judge where to best be spending our money." Chairman Chuck Zunk: "In my opinion . . . that's exactly the sort of thing we need to be doing . . . it's smart." [Member Stan Grubin asked if there was currently any plan in place to replace aging system hardware-- rather than just wait till failure, then replace/repair. Sligh: "No but we're working on one."] $250,000 is being budgeted for "plant" (system-wide) maintenance, to make just such repairs--as needed. The 12+ yr old "small bucket" truck needs to be replaced-- due to chronic mechanical/hydraulic problems. Sligh: "We use this truck every day of the year." Chairman Zunk: "I was out walking this morning and it came up behind me . . . sounded like a Sherman tank attacking." A replacement for a 22 yr. old van is needed (probably with a state surplus pickup truck). Remote control/monitoring systems (SCADA/AMI) need to be installed at substations in preparation for upcoming "smart grid" Federal mandates. Sligh: "As the smart grid initiative migrates downward . . . this becomes more and more important." [The Energy Independence and Security Act (2007) requires FERC to begin implementing the smart grid initiative for power providers next year; intending to increase electric grid efficiency/save energy] Member Stan Grubin said it seemed every Department had many legitimate requests; and then asked Administrative Superintendent James Gillespie how-- with a limited pot of money for the City to spend--- its currently determined "who gets what" among the various departments. Gillespie: "We talk to all Dept. Managers . . . but the Mayor is the ultimate decision maker." [Note: The City Council must accept/reject the final budget proposal] Member John Brown asked if there was still time for the consulting engineers to come in, analyze the system-- and advise what needs to be done-- in time for this year's budget. Sligh: "I don't believe so . . . not this year."