By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Water plant could get control panel ahead of schedule
Placeholder Image

McMinnville officials are in talks about replacing the control panel at the city’s Water Treatment Plant sooner than expected.
The cost will be $250,000 and will not increase water rates.
The control panel was scheduled to be replaced in 2015. However, officials have recently discussed including the work with other projects to be done in 2013 and 2014 due to the control panel’s condition.
 The control panel was installed in 1965 and upgraded in 1985. In a capital improvement plan, it was written that “The need for upgrade/ replacement of the main control panel at the Water Filtration Plant is critical ... Repairs are frequent and many parts have become obsolete.”
A capital improvement plan is a schedule of needs generated by department directors or managers that lists future upgrades, what year the upgrade is needed, and a cost estimate. Replacement cost for the control panel was estimated at $250,000 and it was scheduled for 2015.
Interim director Bill Brock asked the later date to be left unchanged.
“I think there was some misconception about the control panel,” said Brock to Water and Sewer Committee members Billy Wood, Jimmy Bonner and Ken Smith. “It is old. It is obsolete by technology standards, but it is not falling apart. It’s running today. It will be running next week and next year. Everything on it is repairable.”
Brock added, “I would suggest you stay on schedule and do it in 2015.”
The Water Department is an enterprise fund, meaning the costs associated with running the department are paid through customer rates – not through tax dollars. To keep rates low, projects are scheduled and done as the debt associated with other projects is paid off.
Brock says leaving the schedule as it is will keep the department’s fees and debt balanced.
“Our rates are based on our debt,” he said. “We have low rates. We don’t have a lot of debt going off right now. We have a little debt falling off in 2013 and 2014.”
Smith, who is chairman of the Finance Committee, included the upgrade in a recent list of improvements he would like to see the city move forward with in the next couple of years.
“You wouldn’t be upset if we moved it forward into 2014 if you didn’t have to increase rates, would you?” asked Smith.
Brock says he would not, to which Smith added, “The sooner we can get caught up to technology the better.”
Water and Sewer Committee members have the control panel’s replacement date as 2014.