LUB Reviews Incentive Assistance for EV Charging Stations

Charge Station at Lamar Chamber Offices



As more and more electric vehicles are being manufactured, the City of Lamar has been working to develop an electric gas station, for lack of a better description, adjacent to the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center on East Beech Street.

Groundbreaking in preparation for the installation of eight charge points will begin before the month is out for two types of stations, Tesla and Charge Point, with Tesla coming on line this spring, according to Lamar Mayor, Kirk Crespin, and the other stations later this fall.

The Lamar Utilities Board deliberated how much consideration could be given to the developers, not to exceed a point beyond the board’s financial limitations.  According to Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, the value of work and materials for the first stations is estimated at $59,846 combining materials, transformer, parts and the value of labor on the part of the light plant crew.  “We’re only considering in-kind labor fees and we’ll charge for truck time and usage.  We don’t want to start any type of precedent for future businesses seeking a discount larger than we can afford,” he explained after a motion was approved and voted on by the board.  The actual value of the contribution would fall under $10,000 as the developer will supply the cost of materials up to the transformer point.  Traditionally, the city has offered curb and gutter construction as part of a general incentive package to developers.

Board members discussed how the city would be able to benefit from the stations as Roger Stagner, former Lamar Mayor, expressed some concern about how the city and board could recoup their expenses from usage.  “They’ll be charged for electricity, but there’s not going to be any employees and only limited revenue from taxes from the property lease,” he said.

Current Mayor, Kirk Crespin, an EV owner, said Lamar will be on a literal website map that electric car owners use to find their next recharging station.  “There aren’t any stations between Clayton, New Mexico, Amarillo and Limon or heading east to Dodge City where drivers can charge up on their journey,” he explained, adding that no other stations will compete against Lamar in southeast Colorado.  An older charger at the Lamar Chamber can take up to five or six hours to fully charge a battery.  Newer models can get a vehicle back on the road after about 40 minutes.  “The time needed for charging means a visitor who would normally just drive through town can spend that time exploring Lamar’s downtown, have a meal, shop and learn more about us, perhaps for a future visit,” he stated, adding that was one of the reasons the site was selected.

Hourieh said NMPP, Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, which advises the light plant on cost and power issues, will conduct a study to determine what rate will be charged to the companies for usage.  Apparently, the stations draw a lot of power and alterations will need to be made to accommodate future use.

In other action, the board approved $52,497.46 in purchase orders from a total of $67,811.75 during their March 1st meeting.  Payment of bills was also approved in the amount of $814,407,88 of which $697,282.45 went to ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority for electricity.

Superintendent Hourieh informed board members the plant received one bid for fiberglass crossarms to replenish stock inventory, the single bid, for $19,111, was approved.  Five bids were reviewed for wraplock wire ties for inventory and the low bid from Stuart Irby, was accepted at $7,342.44.

The plant’s substation crew finished replacing equipment dating back to the 1960s for an upgrade of the
East, Dragon and Bus tie 4 kv circuit protection relays.  Hourieh said these electromechanical power protection relays are no longer supported by G.E.  There were no power interruptions to customers in that area and Hourieh said the upgrades will help improve efficiency and reliability.
By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarConsumer IssuesFeaturedRecreationTourismTransportationUtilities


About the Author: