By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Water & Light debates tunnel pipe materials

Consultant Jacobs Associates, which is doing the engineering work on the tunnel, proposed leaving the choice of liner material to the contractor. However, that did not prove a welcome suggestion.

General Manager Kem Carr said the engineering firm should select the material best-suited for the job because it will have to stand behind the work in the end.

Jacobs Associates identified three possibilities: steel, high-density polyethylene and high-density PVC. It said any of the three should work well.

The company presented a slide show on the proposed route, and discussed the timeline. It wants to have the project ready to go to bid by late July so construction can begin in August or September.

The aim is to greatly increase the amount of water the city can deliver to the treatment plant per day. The cost has been projected at $3.8 million.

Commissioners also approved budgets for the water and fiber departments, but received some bad news in both cases.

Finance Director Mark Carlton noted operating income for the water department is expected to decrease over the next four years, “due predominantly to flat growth in customers and consumption.” As a result, he predicts that by 2018, the department will be experiencing a loss of $354,398 in annual operating income.

The fiber department has also been experience declining revenue, he said, due to “the loss of several customers to cable companies.” He said “revenue from the light and water departments will need to be considered to help get operating income into the black.”

Commissioner Patrick Fuchs abstained from the discussion and vote on the fiber department budget due to his role in OnlineNW, a fiber customer.

In other business, the commission awarded a contract to Kizer Excavating Co., the low bidder, to upgrade the Walnut City power substation at a cost of $241,216. Kizer’s bid came in well below the rest of the field.

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