Elizabethton council OK’s spending to finish substation project

John Thompson • Mar 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The final portions of a $20 million bond issue to rebuild all nine Elizabethton Electric Department substations will soon be used up, leading the Elizabethton City Council to authorize the expenditure of $439,511 out of the current operational budget to finish the final portions of the major project.

The council approved the funding change during its monthly meeting Thursday, but Councilman Richard Tester asked Finance Director and interim City Manager Jerome Kitchens to provide more explanation.

The last remaining projects of the effort to upgrade the electric department’s 50-year-old infrastructure was to provide new wiring in the Rome Hollow and Sandy Bottom areas to enable the carrying of larger loads and to install fiber optics to five substations.

Most of the expense for the in-house projects has already been paid for out of the current operational budget and no adverse affects on cash flow are anticipated.

The reason for the change from funding the projects with bond revenue is that the final substation project cost more than anticipated because in the final review and design of the existing components it was determined that several more needed to be replaced. Gary McGill, the consulting engineer, said the low bid of $1.14 million “reflects the fair value of this project.”

The bid by single-source supplier Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories also came in higher than anticipated, at $486,308, for the Supervisory Control and Data System. Part of the reason was the need for interfacing with Tennessee Valley Authority control systems within the substation and the need for TVA to keep its portion of the substation energized throughout the construction.

In other matters, the council agreed to fine five beer permit holders after employees had been found selling alcohol to a minor during a police sting. One other permit holder agreed to a three-day suspension of his license.

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