Westbrook VFD gets pumper

New truck to assist volunteers

BART adds to Westbrook Volunteer Fire Department's arsenal of fire fighting equipment.

CMN benefits from drawings

Credit union employees raising funds

The employees of the local branch of the credit union are raising funds for Children's Miracle Network again this year. Stop by to buy tickets for over 50 drawings.

Loraine adds to Wall of Honor

Former students honored during homecoming

Several names were added to the Loraine ISD Wall of Honor during halftime of the Bulldogs' homecoming football game last Friday night. 

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  • City council members of the City of Colorado City met last Thursday in a called meeting to consider amendments to the contract with FGE Texas I, LLC. The power company requested the changes to the contract, but while the council was not in favor of the changes, members failed to reach an agreement on how to proceed.The city has a contract with FGE to supply effluent water from the wastewater treat...


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FGE wants more water from city

coloradocityclipartCity council members of the City of Colorado City met last Thursday in a called meeting to consider amendments to the contract with FGE Texas I, LLC. The power company requested the changes to the contract, but while the council was not in favor of the changes, members failed to reach an agreement on how to proceed.
The city has a contract with FGE to supply effluent water from the wastewater treatment plant south of town to the planned power plant to be built south of Westbrook. FGE is requesting more water and is moving back the date of “first water delivery” by six months. First water delivery means the initial day that Colorado City would be required to provide water at the point of delivery.
The council had no objections to date changes within the contract, but promising to supply more than the agreed upon amount of water did not sit well with members. FGE is seeking to raise the amount of reclaimed water from 182,500,000 gallons of water per year to 255,000,000, an increase of 72.5 million gallons per year.
City Manager David Hoover said that the city could guarantee that amount of effluent water, but it might have to come from a supply stored in the old water tower on Chestnut Street. At 255,000,000 gallons per year, the city would have to guarantee 137.93 gallons more water per minute to the power plant company than orginally contracted.
When the agreement with FGE was first put into place, the company had requested a larger amount of wastewater than the council was comfortable with providing. Negotiations saw the amount reduced to 182.5 million gallons per year.
“This was my original question,” Councilman Craig Jolley said. “We don’t want to get in a position where we have to produce water just to give it to them.”
Hoover pointed out that a clause in the agreement prevents the city from litigation, if the amount cannot be produced during a water shortage.
The agreement says that FGE will pay $1 per 1000 gallons of non-potable water up to 500,000 gallons and $1.50 per thousand after that. Another change requested raises the price increase to water used after 700,000 gallons.
Councilman Keith Hiser estimated that the new numbers would see the city bringing in $255,500 per year. The numbers have not been presented as a take-it-or-leave-it option, and Hoover said there is room for negotiation.
“We don’t want to be the ones that causes it (the power plant) not to be built,” Hoover warned the council.
“Yes, but we don’t want the bill,” Councilman Marcelo Alvarez countered. Jolley agreed and wondered aloud how the plant actually helps the city.
Hoover said that the overall growth would benefit the city, but the power plant will pay no city taxes as it is not being built within city limits.
Hiser asked if the city has a consistent metered output of 500,000 gallons of water per day. Michelle Guelker, Director of Operations for the city, assured him it does.
The idea of building more retaining ponds at the wastewater facility was kicked around. It is a project that will have to be undertaken by the city in the near future. TCEQ has already notified city officials to get started on the planning of such a pond, because the current ponds are at 70% capacity.
Cost to build such a pond is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million. At that rate, it would take the city 10 years to pay off one pond using the revenue being brought in by the sale of water to FGE.
A discussion ensued about the various entities set to receive tax revenue from the power plant. Mitchell County, the hospital district and Westbrook ISD are getting “donations” in lieu of taxes for the next 20 years. When the 20 years is up, taxes will begin to be paid on the plant.
“Everybody is winning in this deal except the city,” Councilman Andrew Fuller said. Jolley agreed, saying that if the amendments resulted in a responsible financial decision for the citizens of Colorado City, he will vote for it.
“They (FGE officials) keep asking for concessions, but we haven’t seen any investment yet,” Jolley said.
Another amendment to the original contract would have FGE leasing 3 acres of land for $10 annually, while the city pays fees to garner easements and rights-of-way for the company.
According to Board of Economic Development Manager Sue Young, while financing for the plant has been secured, the actual money will not be released until easements have been acquired.
“Ten dollars doesn’t cover our legal fees,” Hiser said.
“It’s an insult to our intelligence,” Alvarez agreed.
Jolley suggested that Hoover request the company pay all fees for legal service, engineering and surveying up front, as a sign of good faith.
The one thing that was agreed upon by all council members is the lack of benefits to the citizens of Colorado City.
“This doesn’t benefit the citizens. It’s too much expense and not enough payoff. What kind of good business is it for us to do this?” Hiser said.
The council made no decision regarding the amendments, as the item was tabled.
Young said that FGE has several options for more water if the city decides not to amend the contract. “They’ve covered all their bases,” Young said Friday.

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