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City defers debt payment to repair aging utilities

The City Council unanimously agreed to defer an accelerated payment to pay down its debt to make improvements to aging electrical utilities and avoid a potential failure that could leave as many as half of the city’s residents without power.

The vote came during its meeting Tuesday night after hearing about continual failures in the existing electrical infrastructure.

Shirley Hughes, finance director, said the $1.3 million scheduled to be used to pay down the city’s general debt would be transferred to the utility fund to make several necessary improvements such as replacing a 69 kilovolts transmission loop and rebuilding the electrical delivery system to Gingerwood Mobile Home Park.

Mayor Roger Tobler called the needed improvements a “serious issue.”

Rory Dwyer, the city’s electrical utility administrator, said just a single failure of the transmission loop could cause an extended outage and leave half of the city’s residents without power and that there have been at least 12 failures of the 30-year-old equipment at Gingerwood where the city has dug up the road and spliced the cable.

“There have been so many failures. Really, we are just patching on top of patching,” he said.

Before the council approved the change, Tobler stressed the importance of letting city residents know that despite adding a year to pay off the debt created by building Boulder Creek Golf Club, the money is being well-spent and the city had been following the financial plan until now.

In other action, the council:

n Voted to create a new easement for a water line on private property at 1260 Tamarisk Lane while scheduling a public hearing to abandon an easement for an older, out-of-date water line at the same property.

n Approved a resolution amending the Community Development Block Grant five-year fiscal year plan from 2010-14 to make improvements at the city pool to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The original plan called for $80,000 to be spent to make improvements and remove architectural barriers to the elderly and handicapped. The amendment increases that amount to $125,000 to account for higher costs.

n Approved a resolution for an agreement with Clark County Regional Flood Control District to extend the completion date for construction of Phase Two of the Bootleg Canyon detention basin and award a bid not to exceed $1.1 million to Patriot Contractors to make those improvements.

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