Down to 2: Council considers sites for substation

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

NEW BREMEN – The final location and cost of a new electrical substation in the village was narrowed down to two options at the Monday night New Bremen Village Council meeting. The approximately 20 residents attending the meeting expressed opinions about each option that at times became rancorous.

Option 1, the plan said to be more cost effective, would be located just off North Herman Street near Pearl, on a .796 acre plot owned by Crown Equipment. The total cost would be $4,924,211.63.

Option 3, which would be located farther west and behind Speedway Bowling Lanes on North Herman, would cost $6,180,312.53 and involve purchasing 3.346 acres owned by John and Ginny Vorhees. The cost increase is due to the need for additional transmission line and poles and an anticipated land purchase price of $560,000. By comparison, the Crown property for Option 1 was estimated would cost $10,000.

Rejected was another option that would have involved a land swap of a 128 acre property owned by Mark Topp. Mayor Jeff Pape said this option was not longer viable due to complexity and time frames involved.

The village also shared examples of the estimated monthly cost increase of either option. Option 1 would result in an increase of $0.0050 per kilowatt hour. A family home’s average monthly electric bill would go from $193.13 to $202.44, assuming kilowatt usage rate of 1861 kWt. Under option 3, the cost would increase to $0.0065 per kilowatt and the average bill would go to $205.23.

Pape said the information presented at the meeting would be available on the village’s website. It was emphasized that all the council members welcomed feedback either by email or phone call. The decision to select Option 1 or Option 3 is planned be decided at the next council meeting on June 25.

Several of the residents at the meeting expressed doubts that the council was working for their best interests. Pape said that they represent all 3,000 people in the village and they were obligated to hear from more people than those at this meeting.

The angriest feedback was from neighbors who said their land values would be reduced with the new substation being built so close to their homes.

Also a point of contention was the belief that the new substation was being built “for Crown” which is building a new 500,000 square foot facility nearby. Pape stoutly maintained the substation was already going to be needed in about two years as the village grew and stretched the electrical sources to their limit. He said the Crown project just pushed the project forward.

Others asked why the substation couldn’t be located somewhere completely different, but Pape said there were only so many places to go in village limits. At earlier meetings, council also released information showing that in order to have efficient transmission of electricity, the new substation should not be located near the other two village substations at the White Mountain location east of town.

In other business, council approved the third reading of a lot split. This location was originally intended for Option 1. Council members assured residents that approval of this ordinance did not mean Option 1 was approved.

Tabled was an ordinance allowing an electrical substation loan bid since no decision has yet been made as to how much money would need to be borrowed. It is planned that the loan would be paid off in 20 years.

Also tabled was the third and final reading of an ordinance to amend the employee handbook to include a Water Plant and Wastewater Plant weekend coverage plan when a village employee questioned details of the plan.

Approved was a second reading of a resolution to adopt an annual property, vehicle and equipment insurance policy at a cost of $59,889.

Also approved was a second reading of an ordinance to vacate a portion of Meadowview Place.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.