Wapakoneta Councilor-at-large Wilbur Wells
With $13 million spent in the past few years to replace the cityâ€™s electrical system, including three substations, Wapakoneta city officials want to rebuild the fund for possible expansion in the new industrial park.
In the past three years, three substations â€” Middle Street, Harrison Street and Defiance Street â€” along with poles and transformers throughout the city have been replaced as the city upgrades its electrical system.
Wapakoneta Mayor Rodney Metz and Wapakoneta Councilor-at-large Wilbur Wells shared the same opinion that they want money placed in reserve for expansion of the system should a manufacturer or manufacturers locate in the West Central Ohio Industrial Center.
â€śI donâ€™t think any new projects will effect the Electric Fund in 2012 with most everything paid for in 2011, so I am hoping the Electric Fund will start to replenish the Electric Expansion account for the next expansion when that occurs,â€ť said Wells, who chairs the Finance Committee. â€śThose will be the only two funds affected should a new industry locate in the park since water, wastewater and storm sewer lines have been extended to the land.â€ť
Wells said the Defiance Street Substation should be completed in January or February with line work and pole work done in the spring.
Each substation cost between $3 million and $4 million to replace.
The Electric Expansion Fund has $4.1 million currently. A new substation would deplete the fund.
The Electric Fund has been set at $19.36 million, with $15 million set for the purchase of wholesale power and a $4 million carryover.
Metz echoed the economic philosophy.
â€śWe want to rebuild the Electric Expansion Fund back up, but we want to start accumulating money to help at the new industrial park,â€ť Metz said after Tuesdayâ€™s Finance Committee meeting. â€śChances are there will be major expenses at the industrial park if there are new industries coming.â€ť
He explained there will be some additional funds coming into the Electrical Expansion Fund as they sell the substation equipment replaced during the recent reconstruction. The city spent approximately $13 million to replace the substations and a few million to replace transformers and poles.
The level of infrastructure for the park is contingent upon the size and number of businesses locating in the industrial park.
â€śThe amount of work to eventually be done at the industrial park depends on the industry that comes to Wapakoneta, but we would be looking primarily at installing a new substation,â€ť Metz said. â€śWe also may be looking at installing substations, plural, and at a different connection point to the main AEP (American Electric Power) and perhaps even a new feeder line for the city if the industry requires a higher voltage service.â€ť
The 471-acre industrial park is a Job Ready Sites state-certified site and should receive some state funds should a large employer locate a plant in the park.
Finance Committee members also reviewed the Refuse Fund and Landfill Closure Fund. They intend to revisit those funds after a Utilities Committee meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, if Utilities Committee members decide a hike is needed to cover costs regarding refuse.
The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.