Rigel Becomes ARPA Interim GM

The Lamar Utility Board approved a joint operating agreement making light plant superintendent Rick Rigel interim ARPA general manager, replacing Bill Leung, effective July 1. Rigel will serve in that capacity until a permanent replacement has been found. ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority, unanimously approved the LUB proposal during their May 11 meeting, and the LUB board of directors also voted approval during their May 24 meeting this past Tuesday. Rigel will continue to perform his duties as light plant superintendent, and the contract includes provisions for potential conflict of interest issues between the two bodies. Rigel told the board; he believes his new position will be short-lived, although the contract calls for a minimum two-year agreement.

The Alta Vista Charter School has sold two educational trailers to the Lamar Utilities Board for $32,000 depending on the final set-up fees. The board approved a contract to Bennett Truck Transport to move the units to light plant property for $15,824. Alta Vista no longer needs the trailers because of the new classrooms under construction at the site, and their contractors need them removed in order to continue with their building project. The board also approved a letter of intent for a lease to purchase agreement, for a 135 foot man-lift unit. The light plant has been using the device since 2007, and with rent applied to the cost of the equipment, the price to the plant will be $78,000 in January 2012.

Extensive repair work has been on-going for repowering modifications on the primary and secondary air ducts, as well as replacing some boiler tubing in the furnace. Rigel told the board the initial insurance claim has been presented for equipment damages suffered in boiler tube ruptures on December 30. The superintendent explained how one tube rupture caused a second one which resulted in a sudden release of pressure damaging interior tile in the furnace, soot blowers and trusses, plus additional equipment. Rigel said those repairs are complete. He expects a second insurance claim will be based on additional future work on boiler modifications and once hydro testing has been conducted.

Light Plant workers wrapped up replacements and repairs to the power poles damaged in last month’s Ft Lyon’s fire in Bent County. Repair work to the western service equipment is done and the prison has switched back to its main power source. A special marsh buggie, needed to navigate the swampy terrain for repair work, came in under rental budget, $33,000 instead of the estimated $42,000. Insurance claims have also been submitted for costs and damages. The light plant received a letter of thanks from the Ft. Lyon Correctional facility for loan of a generator and the fast work conducted in the replacement of the burned power poles.

Rigel commented on the city’s self-funded unemployment insurance fund and it’s potential impact to light plant operations. Rigel said the interest dividends recently decreased from 4% to 1.75% and because the account was fully funded, there have been no payments made into it for several years. He estimated the light plant share was only three-tenths of a cent, or an annual payment of $8,100 a year when such payments had been made. He said he’d keep the board informed on any decisions made by the city council.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: CitycommunityEnergyFeaturedLamarThe Journal AlertUtilities

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