Costs, needs head NID talk
How to deal with major costs and future projects continues to dominate meetings of the Nevada Irrigation District board.
At the first board meeting of the year Wednesday, members considered:
• Forming a special committee with the city of Lincoln to build a new treatment plant to serve its booming growth.
• How many millions it will cost to relicense hydroelectric facilities in 10 years.
• A February workshop to outline the district’s vast reserves and how they will be used for future projects.
• Using solar energy to decrease a $1 million per year power bill.
Chief Engineer Tim McCall told the board there have been five proposals submitted to NID for the planned multi-million dollar Lincoln water treatment plant.
“There will be a large concentration of users in an urban setting,” McCall said. City of Lincoln figures estimate more than 12,000 new homes will be built within NID boundaries that will need water.
Board members said engineering committee members Nancy Weber and Paul Williams would probably sit on a joint committee with the city to plan the new treatment plant. Committee members will look at financing and draft reports before suggesting the best proposal to the city and NID boards, McCall said.
Relicensing of the hydroelectric plants currently operated by NID and PG&E is slated for 2013, but the lengthy and complicated process will take many years. New board president George Leipzig said the district put aside $5 million several years ago to finance the process with plans of having $10 million.
But interest rates have lowered since the hydroelectric reserve was established, and Leipzig wondered if the district will have enough.
NID General Manager Ron Nelson said the district has enough for the initial steps of relicensing, “but $10 million is not an unrealistic target. Our neighbors have spent far more.”
Leipzig also called for a full accounting of the district’s approximate $160 million in reserves, what the accounts are called, how they are spent and what they may be spent on in future years.
Leipzig also said he would like the district to look at solar energy as a way to save on long-term costs. Currently, the district’s PG&E bill is around $1 million a year, according to Nelson and Finance Manager Tess Andrews. Nelson said the idea would be investigated.
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