Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for March 20, 2014
Kanab City Council looks for ways to save on energy costs
The Kanab City Council heard three informative presentations from company representatives describing their plans to improve Internet service, energy costs and flood control in Kanab at the March 11 Kanab City Council meeting.
Michael East, of South Central Communications, described plans his company is undertaking to provide high-speed fiber optic Internet access to residences, businesses, schools and public buildings in the Kanab area by the end of 2015.
The “Fiber to the Premise” 50 megabits/second base Internet service can later be increased to one gigabit/second service, if desired. That is 1000 megabits/second.
The cost of delivering these unparalleled Internet speeds over the next 12 years to the companies 23 exchanges and their customers will be $110 million, with everything starting in the Kanab area – their largest exchange – at a projected cost of $12 million. East said the cost equates to about $10,000 per current South Central customer, but stated there is some federal money involved in the project. “We are a cooperative, and we’re building for the future,” he said.
The 50 Meg service will cost $66.45/month, which includes $1.50/month phone service charge for their telephone customers. The fiber optic lines will be installed along every street in Kanab in underground conduits over the next 15 months. There is no additional cost to be connected to the fiber optics line. There will be an hour-hour battery backup and wireless routers.
Mayor Robert Houston said, “One of the things companies look for when considering a location is high speed Internet service, and this will provide that.”
Mark Cram, MBA of Siemens Industry, a company that audits municipalities and companies with the goal of generating savings in operational costs, addressed the council for the second time on his request to the city to conduct an investment grade audit of energy costs the city incurs.
Siemens guarantees their projected savings over 15 years with a stated 99.6 percent accuracy in their performance-based contract or reimburses the city. That is contingent on the city implementing the cost-saving measures Siemens suggests.
So far, Cram believes 15-23 percent of the energy costs at the pool, library, cemetery, parks and city street lights (noted to be under Garkane’s control) totaling nearly $95,000 per his estimate, has a potential yearly savings of between $14-22,000 and $210-330,000 over 15 years.
“Improvements generate savings, which generate further improvements,” stated Cram. Councilman Brent Chamberlain asked, “How would you save money on the costly ($71,669 per Siemens estimate) pool heating expense if you don’t have the money to make the suggested alterations.”
With that, the council will wait to get more specifics on Siemens’ proposal before deciding on their audit request.
Tom Avant, of TC Engineering, proposed another solution to his estimate of $40,000 in pool heating costs for less than four months of pool use each year. The Great Big Bopper, a commercial-sized heat pump, can heat and cool large commercial swimming pools economically. These heat pumps have a Coefficient of Performance of six, meaning you get $6 worth of heat for every $1 spent. A gas heater returns only 80 percent of every dollar spent. Conversion from propane heat would cost $80,000, but Avant believes a cost savings of $32,000/year could be realized, thereby paying for itself in 2.5 years. Electricity is needed only to transfer heat, not create it, and these pumps, which have titanium internal parts, would cost about $8,000/year to operate.
Councilman Kent Burggraaf felt communities that use these heat pumps should be contacted for opinions on their performance.
Avant continued with a report on Kanab’s storm drain project for 2014. The flood in Tom’s Canyon in 2010 caused $3 million in property damage, and moved many residences into a more costly insurance rating of a Zone A FEMA flood plain designation. The existing box culverts and detention basin are inadequate and need upgrading to be recognized by FEMA.
The storm drain project has three phases and a total projected cost of $2,079,369. These include 60, 7x6 foot box culverts, dredging and enlargement of the detention basin and 24” storm drain lines from 300 North to 200 North down Main and 100 East to a new 48” storm drainline along 200 North from 300 East to Kanab Creek.
The expense will be offset by $473,000 in landowner contributions, led by Jeff Peterson’s donation and Kanab City in-kind work amounting to $342,958. A Community Impact Board (CIB) grant application will be sought for $979,150, along with a CIB loan of $284,261 paid back over 30 years at 1.5 percent interest, generating an $11,836 annual repayment cost.
It’s imperative the city act promptly to secure the CIB funding, as applications for the $35 million in available funds are due by March 25. So far, only $9 million of these funds have been allocated. Kanab could opt to declare an ‘Eminent State of Emergency’ to enhance its chances at the CIB meeting April 3.
Mayor Houston reported all checks written by Kanab City employees will undergo a review process that can include department heads, council members, City Manager Joe Decker and himself.
Any commercial development in Kanab will be reviewed by a Development Committee that will guide the applicant through the Planning Commission and permitting processes in an advisory capacity only.
The mayor outlined the city’s restructured Complaint Process. Any legitimate complaint registered with city officials will be logged and measures taken to alleviate the problem. The complaint is reviewed weekly or as conditions change, until a resolution is found. The person registering the complaint is informed of any significant changes until the issue is resolved.
Discussion of hiring Sterling Codifiers to review and codify Kanab’s nearly 1,000 pages of ordinances was undertaken without a decision to hire the firm to do the project over a year’s time at a cost of $14,000.
Jack Gisler and his wife Jan were honored by Mayor Houston and the city council for their 12 years of community service in Kanab and Kane County. The town of Walla Walla, Washington, will soon benefit from the Gisler’s energy and devotion.