Electrical Distribution System & Substation Infrastructure
Fellow Breckenridge Ratepayers,
The following is a brief update on the city’s electrical distribution system, including the Engineering study, the findings/recommendations, and what the City’s plans are going forward.
As you may have already heard or read, Breckenridge has completed an engineering study on its electrical distribution system and substation infrastructure. The full Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) report is on the Breckenridge web site. The following is a summarization of that study:
*The distribution system is aged and much of it is nearing “end of life”
*Two of the three substations are at their end of life expectancy
*Build two new substations where each is capable of carrying the demand load and eliminate the third (Water Plant) substation.
*Increase the distribution voltage from 4160/2400VAC to 12470/7500VAC
*Replace all distribution transformers to accommodate new voltage level
*Overhead distribution service should be converted to underground
*Develop a strategic plan that can accomplish the CIP over the next 10 – 15 years
*Total proposed estimated cost - $15.4 million dollars.
The proposed plan and cost assume all work is to be contracted out. While much of the work will require contractor support, City officials are exploring alternative approaches for some of the work that is required. The City has a talented electrical lineman crew that has expertise in most of the technical areas that are needed for this project; however, we have minimal staff (three personnel). Moreover, the City does not possess all the necessary equipment to accomplish such a large project and get it done in a timely manner.
Replacing outdated underground and converting overhead to underground is an enormous task and will require a tremendous amount of horizontal boring. Boring, as opposed to trenching, will be the least intrusive to the resident’s home and City boulevards.
This project will be ongoing for many years and will be broken down into manageable annual project workloads. The project will remain fluid as the City will always reserve the right to alter or make adjustments to the plan as deemed appropriate. The City will take all necessary measures to minimize the inconvenience to our citizens, and we will do our best to communicate to all residents that will be impacted each year.
Now that the project has been laid out, how does this project get paid for? Breckenridge Public Utilities is planning a rate increase of 1 cent ($.01) per kWh, half cent (.005) per load management kWh. Demand rates for Industrial and Commercial users will increase fifty cents (.50) per KW demand. Rate changes are on table to right.
I ask for your support and cooperation as we move forward with this work.
Neil Crocker, Director of Public Service (March 2020 Public Utilities Newsletter)
Breckenridge Water Treatment Plant
As of October 1st, the New water plant has been the primary water producing facility for the city. The chemical feeding software has been fully debugged and the system ramps up and down based on the water flow. Currently, the plant runs at 700 gallons per minute (gpm) giving us one million gallons per day capacity. Currently, the city demand is around 240K to 280K gallons per day. The plant first started producing water back in mid-July. It has run several days a week during the debug and optimization phase contributing water to our overall distribution system and providing relief to the old plant.
It has been a great project and is now time to get it into production full time. Cheers!
Neil Crocker, Director of Public Services
Street Repair Process
The following information is intended to help inform Breckenridge citizens of the process being used to prioritize street maintenance and repairs:
In 2016, an Engineering firm (Widseth, Smith and Nolting) was hired to perform an assessment of every street and avenue in the city of Breckenridge. The assessment was very thorough and produced a map that is color coded for ease of understanding. The map shows each street and avenue in the city with an assigned color. The Map Key in the upper right-hand corner shows six different colors with a description for each. The city officials have further simplified the map into 3 colors: Green, Blue and Red.
Blue = thin overlay
Green = potential mill and overlay
Red = total reconstruct
The current efforts are to keep the Blue and Green streets/avenues from becoming Red. This is why you are seeing some streets getting repaved even though other streets are in worse condition. Those streets that are Red (needing total reconstruct) will cost quite a bit more to repair, and we are still working through the various funding source options. In the near term, efforts are being focused on repairing the streets/avenues that are still able to be salvaged with mill and/or overlay. The map is considered a guideline, but there may be some circumstances where some deviation from the map may be warranted based on current observations.
The funding currently being used for mill and overlay street projects is coming from the general fund. This means that all tax payers share in the cost of maintaining the streets, as all tax payers use the streets.
On the streets/avenues requiring total reconstruct, if water and/or sewer are replaced, home owners on that street/avenue will likely be assessed for a portion of the water and sewer.
If you have specific questions regarding your street or Avenue, feel free to reach out to City Hall at 218-643-4681
Neil Crocker, Director of Public Services Renae Smith, City Administrator
Safe Routes to School
This project will begin in June 2019 and be completed in August 2022. This project is a complete system around the schools. This will include new sidewalks, parking lot NW of school, street crossing and painting, ADA compliant crossings, speed feedback signs, beacons, push-button crossings, auto gate for circle drive and more. The Breckenridge Active Living Committee has received a Transportation Alternative Grant for $225,000 to help with the funding of this project.
Camper/RV Rentals~ COMPLETE 2019
New camper/RV spots in Welles Memorial Park. Electric & water hook-ups are installed throughout the park. Campground reservation are available through City Hall (218)643-1431. For more information and photos of the sites.
Completed in 2019
Highway 75 Path ~ COMPLETE 2018
If you haven’t taken a stroll on the new Highway 75 pedestrian path, this would be a great time. The 1.15-mile path starts at Veteran’s Park /Family Community Center and takes you to CHI St. Francis. This path is 10 foot-wide, family friendly, and ADA compliant so that people of all ages and physical abilities can use it.
Breckenridge Public Utility crews installated security lighting, which was made possible in part from an Otto Bremer Foundation grant. Thank you, Otto Bremer!! With the installation of lighting, the path will not only be more useable 24 hours a day but will also be a welcoming entrance to the City. Benches are installed along the path.
Research shows that exercise and being outside can improve mood and overall health. It’s a great time of year to get outside and enjoy a walk on the path!