Officials pursue generator

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Interim City Manager Larry Eulert said Friday that Pawhuska city government anticipates having bids in-hand by July relative to the potential purchase of a new “dark-start” generator to serve as the keystone component of the city’s backup electric-power generation system.

The “dark-start” generator the city had in place crashed within the past month, Eulert said, and a replacement needs to be purchased to make sure that Pawhuska’s multiple-generator backup system will work if there is an emergency loss of electric power. The generator that crashed had been built in 1949, he said.

“Is it important?” he said. “Only if the power goes out.”

Eulert said a good used generator, with some 1,300 to 1,400 hours of service on it had been located, and the going price for it would be some $600,000.

“It is going to be extremely expensive to do this, but it is going to have to be done,” Eulert said, commenting that the city will be looking at financing options.

“It’s literally a cost of doing business,” he said. Pawhuska city government has approved its new budgets for the 2018-19 fiscal year that begins in July, and if the budget numbers hold throughout that fiscal year, Pawhuska would generate a surplus of about $216,000 in the General Fund, as well as a surplus of about $420,000 in the Public Works budget, Eulert said.

He explained that city government is taking a cautious approach, even with the surge in sales tax revenues brought about by retail business expansion during the past couple of years, because there are long-term expenses for which Pawhuska needs to save money.

A critical area Eulert touched on — a subject on which he has commented at length previously — is Pawhuska’s need to improve its water-supply infrastructure if it is to adequately support longterm business and residential growth.

The city has applied for grant funds to rehab its two-million-gallon water tank. Beyond that, Eulert said the first other element of improved water-system infrastructure he would like to see Pawhuska address is a 12-inch-diameter water line from Bluestem Lake.

“Water is always going to be a precious commodity, and we need to plan,” he said.