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Council updates utility rebate program

Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting started with a celebration of one worker’s past then shifted its focus to the future.

Council members celebrated the long career of Parks and Recreation Director Roger Hall. He was awarded an eagle statue for his 45 consecutive years of dedicated work for Boulder City as members of his family and his friends watched and applauded.

After the celebration concluded, Mayor Joe Hardy unconvincingly invited Hall’s attendees to stay for the rest of the meeting.

“For those who would like to stay for a long and dry meeting you’re welcome to stay,” said Hardy to laughs from the others in the room.

Appliance rebates

Among the actions taken during the meeting was the repeal of an old electric utility rebate system and adoption of an updated version.

The rebate system was created in 1991 and was last updated in 2008.

The newly updated system raised the minimum score under the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings for technology to qualify for a rebate. Smart thermostats and irrigation controllers were added to the list of appliances that qualify for rebate, while evaporative coolers and window treatments were removed from the list.

The deadline to apply for a rebate was extended from the previous 60 days to 90 days. The 90-day deadline begins after installation of all appliances except for the smart thermostat, which begins 90 days after purchase, according to Utilities Director Joe Stubitz.

“Rebates are really helpful,” said City Manager Taylour Tedder. “We didn’t have rebates for small things before; it was just major expenses like air-conditioning units. But now you can take these smaller steps and still really save.”

Information about the rebates are available on the city’s website.

Eldorado Valley utilities

The council voted to allow two utility companies to begin the land management process for use of parcels in the Eldorado Valley.

After a silent public hearing, Community Development Director Michael Mays presented the proposals for DesertLink LLC and Southern California Edison to each request the use of land in the Eldorado Valley to house energy substations. Though both are utility companies, they differed in how much land they were asking to use and the situations behind their requests.

Southern California Edison requested 3.5 acres that were previously part of a land grant from the Bureau of Land Management that was for more than 85 acres. According to the proposal, the company first tried to secure a long-term lease for the city’s land when the grant expired.

Now, Southern California Edison wants to use the land under an easement, which is an agreement for the company to use the land for a specific purpose. In this case, the purpose would be for a substation that already exists on that land.

DesertLink LLC is requesting use of 35 acres to build a new substation, according to its proposal.

Mays pointed out that approving both proposals would just be an early step in the land management process.

When the Planning Commission reviewed these applications, members voted unanimously to recommend approving Southern California Edison but were split 3-3 about DesertLink LLC’s proposal.

Financial plan

The presentation of the five-year financial plan for the city by Acting Finance Director Angela Mannien carried a more foreboding tone than the rest of the items on the agenda.

Mannien pointed out early in her presentation that the projected revenue for Boulder City is mostly expected to stay at the same level during the next five years. However, the city’s expenses are only expected to continue increasing.

These projections were reinforced by financial records from 2022, which showed expenses greater than city revenue.

While these projections seemed incredibly negative, Mannien pointed out that the finance department’s projections are always conservative. They purposely expect annual revenues to be lower and expenses to be higher than the year’s actual totals.

Also, one of the consistent expenses is money transferred out to departments that need extra funds with the city, according to Mannien.

After the presentation, the council recognized and thanked Mannien for her work in the role of acting finance director. They also talked about their unease with these projections and possible solutions to be found in economic diversification.

After this discussion, the mayor summed up Mannien’s presentation.

“We have enough money now but we may not in the future, but we probably will,” said Hardy.

Contact Mark Credico at mcredico@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCredicoII.

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