Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

End Game For Power Plant?

City Officials Addressing Big Budget Expense


May 27, 2021

The Kimball City Council and the Kimball Board of Public Works met in a joint session on Monday evening in the City Council Chambers.

The only item to be discussed at the meeting was the future of the power plant. Although the power plant produced electricity when it was needed in February, over the past few years it has become a drain financially on the city budget.

In 2018-19, the total loss for the power plant was almost $70,000. By 2019-2020, the numbers had jumped to nearly $350,000, and from October 2020 to May 21, 2021, the loss is $143,000.

All Board of Public Works members agreed that the current rate of expenditures on an old antiquated system is not financially responsible with taxpayers’ money.

The engines are obsolete, and board members threw out terms like “stop the bleeding” and “creating a false sense of security.”

The White Superior Engines are a 1956 model, and the newest engine, the big Cooper, is a 1976 model, making it 45 years old.

The power plant stopped continuous operation in 1980, but according to the MEAN contract, it must be tested quarterly and be on standby to produce electricity when requested.

Bill Hinton, superintendent of the Electric Department, said the engines have been running, but all the engines have issues, including fuel, water, and oil leaks. In the future, the city would need to replace cylinders, boilers, fuel lines, radiator hoses, radiators and chemicals.

After a lengthy discussion, the decision was made to table any decision on the power plant and to contact Northrop Grumman’s spokesperson, who will be appointed in June or July, for some possible direction or help with a backup electrical system.


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