DOVER — Council has approved paying one of four cost overruns from operations at Dover Light & Power in 2021.
On Tuesday, members authorized paying $39,140.01 to Industrial Management Controls (IMC) for work done last year. The company does control work at the light, being involved in operation of the gas turbine, boiler, turbine and some diesel equipment.
The city had little choice but pay the bill.
"What I'm running into now, to be totally transparent, is I have two EPA reports due Jan. 31, and part of those reports the gentleman from IMC would obtain data and some of that is for calibrating a lot of our instruments," Jason Hall, the light plant superintendent, told council during a Committee of the Whole meeting prior to the council session. "You have to report that to the EPA."
Hall said he is having a hard time obtaining the data because the IMC employee is not at the plant.
"They're not going to help us until these overages are paid," he said.
Auditor Nicole Stoldt said she spoke to the owner of the company.
"He was not very nice, I'll tell you that, when he called on the phone," she said. "He said, you realize you have all these outstanding bills, and I said I understand, but you understand the situation. He said, I'm well aware of the situation, but if you want our guys to come back in there, we have to get paid."
In November, council learned about more than $300,000 in cost overruns for repairs at the light plant made from the yearly shutdown last summer. Stoldt was not informed about many of the charges until October. Some of the bills were from July. The additional expenditures had not been approved by council.
The IMC bill is not related to the shutdown.
Council has not acted yet on the other three bills, from RCR Services, Sulzer Turbo Services and Fairbanks Morse Engine. The Sulzer bill is for $199,000.
If the bills are left unpaid, it will affect the city's debt-credit ratio if the companies start turning Dover in to collection, Stoldt said. Lenders use the debt-credit ratio to assess the city's creditworthiness.
Hall said IMC told him that turning Dover into collection was the company's next step.
Reductions in spending will be made elsewhere at the light plant to pay for the IMC bill.
In other business involving the light plant, council approved spending up to $150,000 for service and parts from Babcock & Wilcox and Detroit Stoker during the outage at the light plant this year. The parts are needed to keep the plant in good working order.
Hall said better communication is needed in the future on light plant operations.
"There's always been a lack of communication between our department, council, auditor, the mayor and the law director. We're trying to fix that," he told council.
Things are changing. He said he has called the auditor's office more times in the last three months than he had in the last 16 years.
"We've got to be transparent," Hall said. "The right hand's got to know what the left hand's doing, and we're trying to fix that."
This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Dover council agrees to pay bill from light plant cost overruns