By Steve Child
Moving forward with a new electrical power plant is the priority for the Brigham City Council, which held a special session Thursday night to discuss future projects.
Council member Tom Peterson said a new plant wouldn’t power the entire city, but rather would be intended to take pressure off the current system during peak hours and save the city money.
Council member D.J. Bott said emergency preparedness is the driving factor for him to support building the plant. The council thinks a plant that could provide up to 30 percent of the city’s power would be preferable. During emergencies the power grid could be set up in quadrants, allowing sections of the city access to power at set times. The plant and generators would ensure the basic needs of the city could be met.
Jason Roberts, the city administrator, expressed concern about the lack of power sources the city has control of.
The city had a contract with Rocky Mountain Power and discovered it was outdated. According to Roberts, Rocky Mountain wanted a rate hike and city administration decided go with a third-party source. The resulting “forward contract” provides electricity from multiple sources over five years.
“I cannot understate the importance of getting off the forward contracts,” Roberts said.” He said being dependent on outside sources undermines the ability to handle emergencies efficiently.
Financial options for accomplishing the project were discussed. A current city bond for past projects that has a low payment schedule will be complete in 2018. An option to continue the bond for this project was believed the best alternative at this time. It would be placed on a ballot for residents to decide.
The council also discussed adding the new Brigham City Sports Complex to the bond because of its revenue potential. The first phase of the complex was completed last year, but it will need multiple other phases to be completed before it is finished. By adding it to the bond with the plant both projects could be completed after 2018.
Several other projects and ideas were put on the table for discussion including the 1100 West intersection, infrastructure policy, secondary water, saving for future capital projects, and alternative energy sources. The council’s members agreed that the special session — the first of its kind in more than two years — had afforded them an opportunity to prioritize, and agreed they needed more meetings like this one.
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