March 5,2018

City Administrators Report

March 5th, 2018


Lighting Projects


Last month I spoke with the operators at the WWTP regarding the outside lighting at the plant. Over the years lights have burned out and not been replaced. During the winter months, dark mornings make this an issue as operators walk between buildings during work hours. Mike Gehrke mentioned to me that the final light outside the office had stopped working and that all the lights needed to be replaced.


Ron Miller from Master’s Touch Electrical visited the plant, counted the number of lights needing replaced, then talked to me. His assessment was that considering age and condition, the fixtures needed replaced. I also had Ron look at replacing the parking lot lights on the south end of City Hall.


I contacted Mike Stahlberg, Energy Service Representative for Flathead Electric Coop, to see if replacing the fixtures and lights with a more efficient LED type qualified for energy rebates. Mike has worked with the city on lighting projects at City Hall and the water treatment plant. Mike had me fill out forms to begin the process to determine if replacing the lights and fixtures would save energy and qualify for FEC energy incentive plan.


On Monday, February 26th, Ron Miller received a letter from FEC stating the retrofit for the lights for the WWTP and the parking lot lights at City Hall did qualify for rebates. Following is the estimated cost and savings for each project.


The lights at the WWTP would cost $3,230.00 to retrofit. FEC utility incentive would pay $1,530.00 towards the project. Total cost to the city would be $1,700.00. Compared to the old-style lighting, the city would save an estimated $662.00 a year in electrical costs, and the payback for the project would take about 2.2 years. Return on investment is estimated at 44.6%.


The old lights on the south end of city hall were from the days when the mill still operated. The cost to retrofit the 4 parking lot lights is estimated at $1,435.00. FEC utility incentive, $880.00. Total cost to the city is estimated at $555.00. Estimated yearly saving to the city would be $415.00 in electrical costs. To pay back the city in yearly savings would take 1.2 years. The return on investment is estimated to be 82.6%.


Ron Miller has ordered the parts to get the project underway and will begin when they arrive.


Sewer Main Problem


I reported last month that waste water operators had a problem with a backed-up sewer main on Cedar and Montana. At the time they thought this to be a strange problem as this main is the trunk line coming from Cabinet Heights and has a lot of flow, meaning the main flows freely and has less chances of backing up.


The first time the crew cleared the main, they remove a lot of debris and found writing pens and pieces of wire, odd items to find in a sewer main. This last time they removed large sticks tangled with other debris. It’s strange that these items are in the main and strange that they are getting lodged in the same area.


The operators are looking at bringing in Missoula Company that can camera the main. There may be a broken section of the main causing items to get caught up. While the company is here we will have them camera a few other areas that are trouble spots in the system.




A few weeks back, the water treatment operator had some issues with turbidity coming into the plant. It seems to be the same issue we have been dealing with since construction began on the dam. They were able to treat the problem, but the plant came close to being out of compliance.


Street crews started moving snow back from the storm drains last week. Hopefully now that we are in March, the weather should be changing and warming up. Once the streets clear up crews will be back filling pot holes.


Jim Hammons