The City Council passed the transformer recovery surcharge ordinance Tuesday at its monthly meeting. The surcharge will be assessed beginning Jan. 1 and residents will pay a $2.25 surcharge per 1,000 kilowatt-hours used. The surcharge will be assessed for 12 months and then expire.
The surcharge is expected to raise the estimated $385,000 needed to install a breaker in front of the new transformer, which should come in during May, and relocate the transformer currently being used at the plant to the capacitor bank behind the wastewater treatment plant to be used as backup transformer, said Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte.
The cost of the new transformer itself was covered by insurance, Matte said.
The approximately $385,000 estimate was arrived at by taking Digitech Services’ estimate of $311,000 to install a breaker in front of the transformer and costs associated with that, and Matte’s estimate of $75,000 to move the current transformer to the alternate site, Matte said.
“What that would allow us to do is, one, in the event of a problem with the new transformer, once it comes in, we could switch to that one,” Matte said. During periods of the year when utility usage is high, the second transformer could not carry the entire load, but could add supplementary power, Matte said.
The improvements the surcharge will pay for will provide more safety for the plant in response to the June 26 explosion and subsequent power outage, Matte said.
“We would like to learn from that experience (explosion) and hopefully prevent that from happening,” Matte said.
The council also voted to approve a window repair material ordinance that will require window repair materials to be compatible and consistent with the remaining windows on constructed homes within the city.
“The reason for this (ordinance) is because some windows in Morgan City that are covered right now have been covered for years, and the hurricanes are gone; the damage is gone,” said Councilman Larry Bergeron. “They just never did change it. In sticking with trying to make the community look better, this is why I wanted to establish an ordinance like this.”
The ordinance will require that windows cannot be covered with temporary material for more than 30 days. The windows must be permanently replaced with the same materials used on the principal building, and, in the case of siding or brick, the materials installed shall be installed with the same patterns as on the principal building.
The council did add a provision in the ordinance in the event of a state of emergency. “In the event of damages caused by a storm, for which the mayor and council has declared a state of emergency, the mayor or his designee may extend that time period to provide for such repairs,” Matte said.
In other action, the council voted:
—To approve a resolution to retain the auditors of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven and Company.
—To approve a change order for Southern Constructors and substantial completion of the road repairs.
—To approve a resolution to retain the Environmental Engineering Services for sewer upgrades.
—To approve the remaining balance of a parish Community Development Block Grant for Hurricane Gustav and Ike recovery to be used for the levee project.
—To approve the Young’s Park lease and enter into a lease with the H & B Young Foundation for the property.