Lamar Utilities Board Delays Budget Approval

Lamar Light Plant Wind Turbines

Lamar Light Plant Wind Turbines

The Lamar Utilities Board postponed until their next meeting, October 29, any action on the proposed 2014 budget, pending the approval of the city budget by the Lamar City Council.  One action follows another and the city council postponed their budget action until a special public hearing meeting scheduled for October 21.  The city council can then approve their 2014 budget at the October 28 meeting and the utility board can approve theirs on Tuesday, October 29. 

Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, outlined some of the budget for board members, noting it is divided into two different operations.  One is the budget for revenue requirements from electric retail sales, while the second portion is for the operation of the Lamar Repowering Project. Expenses for that are funded by ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority by way of the joint operating agreement between the City of Lamar and ARPA.  Hourieh added that some of the operating costs for the Repowering Project will be contingent on financial responsibilities with the boiler manufacturer, Babcock and Wilcox and planned testing of new boiler equipment.  He said there is a substantial decrease for some of the Repowering Project expenses as the facility is currently mothballed, giving as an example, 2014 budgeted capital outlays of $100,000, compared to $860,000 in 2013.  Hourieh also noted that the Charter Appropriations paid to the City of Lamar each year is at $1,645,167 for 2014, about a $100,000 increase over 2013.  That figure is the full 12% of retail sales as allowed by the Charter. 

Lack of wind and a month long down time for one of the Light Plant’s wind turbines accounted for a drop in power production.  Through the end of August the turbines generated 8,112 MWH of electricity which is about 16.6% less than the same period in 2012.  The average capacity of production is also off from last year by about 4.5%.  The turbine was off line while a failed gearbox was being replaced.

By Russ Baldwin

(Correction: Mothballed is incorrect in this instance, as the power plant is currently offline, pending negotiations with Babcock & Wilcox, boiler manufacturers.  The term mothballed lends an interpretation of a permanent situation, and that is not the case for the Lamar Repowering Project–Russ Baldwin)

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyUtilities


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