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City Council voted Tuesday night to add $5.9 million to bonds that will be issued this year for utility projects. This step will accelerate the replacement of aging equipment at the Riverside electric substation.
The Riverside substation, located on Riverside Drive across from Arnett Boulevard, is one of 17 substations the City uses to distribute power to 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.
Approximately 15 of the City’s 25 substation transformers are 30 years of age or older. The Utilities Department has developed a plan to replace outdated transformers at its substations. Staff anticipates working on substation projects for the next five to 10 years, mainly due to the time required to engineer/design and procure the equipment needed. Transformers must be custom built and once ordered take 40 to 60 weeks to arrive.
The Riverside substation was scheduled for a transformer replacement in the fall of 2019 or spring of 2020. The substation houses two distribution transformers. One of the transformers failed in the fall of 2016. The failed transformer was replaced on a temporary basis with a mobile unit, which is prone to lock out. Last month, the mobile transformer was replaced by a rental transformer that is less prone to lockouts.
By agreeing to add $5.9 million to bonds issued this year, the City will accelerate the ordering of a new transformer and related equipment for the Riverside substation and allow it to be in place by the fall of 2018.
The Danville Utility Commission recommended approval of the request.
In other matters last night, City Council voted to:
In addition to these votes, City Council held a first reading on acceptance of a $200,000 grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to conduct structural investigation and stabilization on two remaining properties at the Five Forks commercial corner within the Old West End Historic District. The grant requires a $100,000 match, which will come from local funds set aside for blight eradication.
A first reading is an introductory step required by City Code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This step serves to provide public notice of pending action. Council could not vote tonight. The earliest vote that can take place will be the Sept. 5 City Council meeting.
Council's meeting included a business session followed by a work session. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that may be voted upon in future business meetings.
During last night’s work session, City Council reviewed a presentation on zero based budgeting and scheduled votes on the following items for its next business session, which will be held on Sept. 5:
River City TV airs live all Council business sessions. The first rebroadcast will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. Watch it on cable (Comcast channel 10 and Gamewood channel 122). The taped broadcast is available now on River City TV’s Facebook page.
River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.