by Pam Zubeck
Several hot topics are on the agenda of tomorrow's public Colorado Springs Utilities Board meeting. One deals with selling a portion of city-owned Utilities and the other concerns watering restrictions, which are inevitable due to persistent drought.
First, a study to examine the pluses and minuses of selling or leasing the power portions of Colorado Springs Utilities likely will be undertaken by NewGen Strategies, a consultant with offices in Denver and four other U.S. cities.
The Utilities Policy Advisory Committee interviewed two firms and is recommending NewGen be hired. The UPAC panel will brief the Springs Utilities Board, comprised of City Council, at its meeting tomorrow, which begins at 1 p.m. in the 5th floor of the south tower of the Plaza of the Rockies building downtown.
The UPAC item is slated for 2:15 p.m. Here's the memo outlining it:
UPAC will brief the Board at the February 20 meeting on selection of NewGen Strategies as our Project Management Support contractor. UPAC requests Board approval to proceed with negotiating a contract with NewGen Strategies.
UPAC will also brief status and projected timeline for preparation of Statement of Work and contract, in consultation with the City Attorney’s office.
UPAC is studying the implications of selling or leasing Colorado Springs' power plants, transmission and/or distribution systems. The study, assigned to UPAC by the Utilities Board in August 2012, will include public input and is expected to be completed in 2013.
In January, UPAC evaluated two vendor submittals to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for project management support services. At the January 23 meeting, UPAC decided to invite both vendors to make presentations at the February 6th meeting. After the presentations and question and answer sessions with each vendor, UPAC selected NewGen Strategies as the vendor for project management support.
The board also will hear an explanation of the Water Shortage Ordinance, which Utilities officials are calling to be placed on the Feb. 26 City Council agenda for first reading. The ordinance would restrict outdoor watering to twice weekly and amend rates to urge conservation. The ordinance also carries penalties for violating the restrictions.
First offense: warning
Subsequent offenses: $300 to $600, depending on the stage of restrictions that have been imposed.
Two violations in the same year: $1,000.
Those fines will be added to the customer's water bill. Repeated offenses and unpaid charges can result in discontinued service, according to a presentation prepared for tomorrow's meeting.
Read the complete ordinance here by clicking on the Feb. 20 agenda and going to item 5C.
Discussion on this topic is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m., following by a presentation on expanding the city's community solar garden program at 3:15 p.m.