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An ‘electrifying’ evening at City Hall

Big initiatives advance Reisner Subdivision, transmission & distribution lines projects

Adam Dickinson, Electrical Utility Supervisor for the City of Webster City, explains the next steps in renewing the city's electrical transmission and distribution system during Monday's meeting of the City Council of Webster City.

After decades of faithful service, substantially all of Webster City’s public utilities are in the process of major renewal or rebuilding.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the City’s electrical utility. The new Reisner electrical substation, which will be built near the corner of Mallards Lane and Closz Drive in the industrial park, was the subject of several important actions advanced by the City Council of Webster City at its regular meeting Monday night.

First was a resolution to seek bids for a 40-foot by 28-foot control enclosure (ie. building) and related accessories and auxiliary electrical equipment at Reisner substation. The cost for the enclosure is estimated to be $470,000. The city’s share is $423,000, with the remaining $47,700 to be paid for by Corn Belt Power Cooperative, supplier of electrical power to the city. The schedule calls for bids to be opened on July 23 and for delivery of the enclosure in April 2025. Detailed specifications for the project list four acceptable manufacturers, all of whom are based in the United States.

A public hearing to review bids is scheduled for August 5 at 6:05 p.m.

In another resolution, the council approved soliciting bids for construction of the Reisner substation. The project is estimated to cost $2.050 million with the city paying $920,500 and Corn Belt responsible for the remaining $1,129,500. The scope of the project includes rock work, concrete foundations, further concrete construction, steel framing, fencing, conduit and ductwork, among other activities. If all goes according to the planned schedule, construction work will begin on September 9 and take just over a year to complete.

A further resolution gave city staff permission to bid for reconstruction of 6.97 miles of 69 Kv electrical transmission line. This line is the primary trunk line that will bring electricity from Corn Belt Power Co-op’s grid to both the Reisner and Sweazy substations. The right of way for the line largely follows the Union Pacific Railroad line south of Webster City, passing along River Street, near the Street Department buildings, through the industrial park and into open country beyond. The entire cost of the line will be borne by Corn Belt and is estimated to be $2.426 million. Work is scheduled to be completed before September 25, 2025.

In a related resolution, bidding of a package of materials for the rebuilt 69 Kv transmission line, referenced above, was approved by the council. Included will be engineered laminated wood poles, 69 Kv insulators, an overhead high voltage conductor, and optical ground wire. The expected total cost of $1.736 million will be paid for by Corn Belt. A public hearing for both the construction and materials packages is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on August 5.

Next, the council unanimously approved seeking bids for a “major materials” purchase to build phase one of the electric distribution improvements project. This involves new construction of a new 13.2 Kv distribution line. All materials for the project are planned to be delivered between April and July 2025, with construction to follow. The 13.2 Kv lines in question fall into the general classification of 15 Kv lines, the most commonly used for primary (ie. residential) distribution in the United States. A public hearing to review bids is scheduled for August 5 at 6:05 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Finally, a public hearing was held to review bids for continuation of the city’s east side conversion project. The winning bid was submitted by Beckstrom Construction Inc., of Elkhart, in the amount of $2,084,471.70. The project is the next step in a 25-year plan to put all electrical transmission lines in Webster City underground.

The city has $1.9 million earmarked for the project in its fiscal year 2025 budget.

On April 29, P&E Engineering Company of Des Moines, the city’s retained consultant on the project, advised staff the likely cost of the project would be $2.250 million, an increase of $350,000. The higher costs were likely due to inflation and general price increases in both labor and supplies for similar projects nationwide.

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