Chairmen elected for committees at Trenton City Council meeting; reports presented on cash balances in electric, water and sewer funds

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Chairmen were elected for each of the four Trenton City Council committees. David Mlika was re-elected chairman of the administrative committee, John Dolan was re-elected chairman of the finance committee, Duane Urick is the new chairman of the economic development committee. These committees include four members each from the council. Mlika was elected chairman of the five-member utility committee that oversees TMU. Each chairman serves a one-year term in heading the respective committees.

While he had hoped an engineer would have a preliminary report last night on the replacement of the two basins at the water treatment plant, Utility Director Ron Urton said the engineer has instead contacted a company that specializes in re-building those mixing basins. He noted this company plans to be in Trenton early next month to look at the concrete basins to see if additional cost savings could be realized on this project. Urton described the potential savings as substantial if re-built instead of re-placed.

Comptroller Rosetta Marsh presented a TMU financial report showing the cash balance from electric, water, and sewer is a decrease overall of approximately $206,000 for 11 months of the fiscal year ending March 31.  Net revenues in electric for March showed a gain of $289,000 based on the residential customers’ increased usage during the extreme cold in mid-February.

Mrs. Marsh noted the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP), of which Trenton is a member, was able to split up the costs that were incurred during the extreme cold. With increased usage in February, customer bills in March were higher.

TMU was charged a portion of their costs on the February MoPep bill and the remaining will be paid with a line of credit that the pool has; and will be charged out to each participating utility over the next 24 months. TMU’s portion of the costs was $783,325. When spread over the two-year period, TMU will pay approximately $34,000 in additional charges. Mrs. Marsh noted TMU could have paid the entire amount of the February energy bill from its cash reserves but wanted to keep what she called a conservative balance in its reserves in case of future events.

Trenton’s cost of $783,000 could have been higher if it wasn’t for Trenton’s ability to use its diesel engine to generate power for the pool. TMU is to be compensated for expenses like diesel fuel and oil used in the generating process.

Among reports, the city of Trenton is tentatively planning to receive funding of $1,061,000 from the American Recovery Act. Details on how these funds can be used have not been determined; however, Urton says preliminary information specifically lists water and sewer infrastructure projects as eligible.

Urton indicates the federal funds could be used to finance the water main extension to the sewer plant, the lining work of the 21-inch collection sewer line, and/or piping replacement work at the reservoir pump station.