Trenton City Council votes “No” on power upgrade to city generators

City of Trenton Website

The Trenton City Council last night voted not to proceed at this time with a power upgrade to allow the “black start option” for running the city’s diesel generators when there’s a prolonged electrical outage.

A cost projection was rejected due to the amount of expense involved. The city council also failed to override Mayor Nick McHargue’s veto of renting a portion of the airport hangar for $300 a month.

Foley Power Solutions had submitted a quote at the request of TMU to upgrade power module controls on the Caterpillar diesel engines that are at the south substation. The total price for seven power module upgrades and two relays was $420,634. The need for the upgrades was discussed at length in a utility committee meeting last week, then last night with the full city council.

It was noted that in the collective memory of many attending the meeting, Trenton has had only one significant power outage of multiple hours stemming from an ice storm several years ago. Therefore, several of the council felt they could not justify the expense of the power module control upgrades now; but could re-visit the issue during budget time next year.

City Administrator Ron Urton had told the committee, then last night to the council, that the upgrades would make the generators more reliable when starting them up. Because the city has the engines capable of generating power, Trenton will continue for the foreseeable future, receive $160,000 annually in capacity credits from the Missouri public energy pool. The city purchases its power on the grid, cheaper than it can produce its own.

With the south end of the big hangar at the airport vacant, the city requested proposals for renting it. Danny Stevens of Trenton submitted the only offer received at $300 a month to store a Cessna 172 plane and to use the first floor, east section, for a bookkeeping office and storage of files for Stevens Excavating and Plumbing.

Before any discussion was held, Mayor Nick McHargue announced he’d like the city to re-advertise for proposals. It was noted the request was only advertised locally. Doctor McHargue said he’d to like to see an aviation-related business in there such as a mechanic for planes. Some on the council thought the $300 offer was to low considering the 3000 square feet of space available. Others felt it would good to have someone there rather than it sit empty and not produce any revenue.

There also was a suggestion that any lease should allow a 60-day notice to vacate if another tenant came along with a better offer. Following discussions that included Danny Stevens, the Mayor, and council, a motion was made by Lou Fisher, second by

Brad Chambley to authorize a one year lease with Stevens. That passed five to three then was vetoed by Mayor McHargue.

The next motion was to override the veto, however, that attempt failed on a four to four vote. In favor of granting the lease as written were Council members Jen Hottes, Lou Fisher, Larry Porter, Brad Chumbley, and Dave Mlika. Opposed were Larry Crawford, Glenn Briggs, and Travis Elbert. On the veto override attempt, it was the same except Mlika voted no.

Among other actions, the city council accepted the high bid and sold a used police car for $3,020 to Gene Gibson. The vehicle is a 2008 Chevy Impala with some 97,000. Five bids were received.

The city council approved a budget adjustment to transfer money from the general fund to the capital projects to make a loan payment by October 1st on the new asphalt plant. The payment is $61,075 which is the first of the annual payments to be made. City Clerk Cindy Simpson said the sale of asphalt goes into the general fund so that’s where money should come from. One half of the $1.400,000 ($700,000) also goes from general revenue to capital projects.

It was decided that the city of Trenton will request proposals for residential trash pickup service as well as for recycling purposes. Discussion of a part-time nuisance officer has been referred to the councils’ finance committee in an effort to locate money to pay for the position.

Councilmen Glen Briggs and Lou Fisher from 1st ward requested a review of parking issues along Main Street near 4th – particularly when semi trucks park there blocking the vision of motorists. Urton and two council members are to meet before approaching the Grundy County Commission. It’s noted that 44% of tax revenue received by the county comes from the city of Trenton residents.

Councilman Dave Mlika present a tidy up award as a key to the city to Mary Axtell for picking up trash.