Hillsboro supports KPP power plant purchase

The Hillsboro City Council voted at its Aug. 2 meeting to support two projects the Kansas Power Pool is considering as a way to better manage energy costs for member cities into the future.

KPP, the state?s first municipal power pool, formed in 2005 with four member cities, has grown to 42 member cities, including Hillsboro and Marion. The purpose of the pool is to create a larger bargaining agent for purchasing wholesale electricity for its members.

The first of two projects is to secure an ownership interest in the Dogwood gas turbine power plant in Pleasant Hill, Mo. Plant owners are looking to sell a majority of the plant capacity, and KPP is one of five municipal power entities looking at a combine purchase of that majority share.

City Administrator Larry Paine said the investment would give KPP and its partner entities the opportunity for controlling prices over the long term.

?It is not to say power costs will be lower than now, but they will be lower than if we continued to purchase contracts over time,? he said.

The other proposal is to have all KPP members contribute funds for the installation of catalytic converters on power plants operated by KPP member cities. The project would enable the plants to meet emissions standards the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring of private-sector power plants.

The power plants operated by member cities provide power for the pool if one of the contract providers cannot.

Paine said it would cost 37.6 times more to build new plants than to bring the existing plants into compliance with the EPA requirements.

Paine, who is a member of the KPP board of directors, and council member Bob Watson, visited the Dogwood power plant in mid-July with representatives from other KPP member cities.

?My feeling at this moment is that this is a good deal for Hillsboro,? Paine said. ?It helps us control the cost of electricity.?

Watson said he was ?impressed with the deal.?

For the two proposed projects to move forward, more than 50 percent of the KPP member cities have to agree to the deal, and 50 percent of the combined capacity must be met as well.

KPP is asking its member cities to indicate their position prior to Sept. 12. KPP?will then notify its members of the outcome Sept. 23.

Both local ordinances passed by a 3-0 vote, with Councilor Marlene Fast absent.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? approved two routine ordinances and two resolutions pertaining to the city?s eligibility for the state?s Community Develop?ment Block Grant program regarding local street projects.

? approved the mayor?s appointment of Kris Erickson to the Hillsboro Housing Authority. He succeeds Pam Buller.

? approved a pay estimate of $8,772.30 from Frederick Waterproofing & Roofing for work completed on the Schaeffler House roof and restoration project.

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