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Russell City Council Votes to Pursue Electric Generation Rehabilitation, Replacement Plan

Quinday City CouncilAt its Tuesday meeting, the Russell City Council voted to allow Electric Utilities Director Duane Banks to pursue identifying the specifics of a plan that would have the city upgrade its current generators, but also buy some new generation, all in an effort to become EPA compliant by next year.

The changes to the city's currently outdated equipment are needed due to new regulations put in place by the EPA that are set to take effect in May of next year. Banks explains what he recommended to the council Tuesday evening, and what they eventually approved.

"What I would request is that we explore putting in up to 9.3 Megawatts of generation and also to go ahead and look at retrofitting one of the units downtown to go ahead and bring it into RICE NESHAP (the EPA program) compliance. Expectations are that all of this can be done for right around $9 million," Banks said.

City Clerk Sheldon Hamilton also briefly addressed the council about how the city might go about paying for the project, including possible rate increases in the discussion. Also, the council decided to file the application paper work with the EPA to extend the deadline for the improvements to be made from May of 2013 to May of 2014, but Banks said other cities have done the same with little luck overall. 

The council also approved upgrading the electrical line power loop around the city that had been discussed at previous meetings. 

Water was discussed at Tuesday's Russell City Council meeting as well. Public citizen Karen Jorg says she is concerned about the local water shortage because she grows most of her own food.

"It took a month to get my yard and garden going, and I proceeded to grow 75 percent of my food that I use all year," said Jorg. "Now, because of the lack of water, I am having to see all my hard work go down the drain. I've lost a peach tree that produced 500 pounds of fruit and only produced 100 pounds this year. Two other trees have been cut and I'm using them for firewood."

No update was given Tuesday on the status of the Cedar Bluff pipeline study or other water related topics, except to say the situation remains bad, but having Big Creek back as a water source does help. 

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