Posted Online: Oct. 08, 2012, 9:36 pm

Colona hears plans for new electric substation

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By Lisa Hammer, rlhammer@qconline.com

COLONA -- Aldermen learned about MidAmerican Energy's proposed $5.6 million project Monday night.

Steve Haacke, of MidAmerican, said the firm will spend $4 million on the 69,000-volt substation on 1st Street just east of the Rock River and $1.6 million on transmission and distribution lines. The substation should "substantially improve the reliability of service" in Colona, he said, adding 10-foot walls will surround the plant.

"I've lived in this town all my life, and I hate to see another generator plant going up in the entrance to the city," said Ald. Mike King.



Colona public works director Rick Crew, however, welcomed the substation, noting current issues with lift stations and wells. Mayor pro tem Rick Lack also said he thought the substation would be "highly beneficial."

Ald. Ben McCoy said a substation is similar to a water tower; at first people don't want to live near it. "Once it's there and they've got plenty of water, it's all right," he said.

It was asked if MidAmerican would consider annexing the property into Colona. Mr. Haacke said he believed the substation will generate $10,000 per year in property taxes. The utility has an option to buy the property, and the city has no leverage to keep it out.

The existing substation which serves Colona and Geneseo is nearing its maximum load capacity and should hit it by 2014, prompting MidAmerican's plans to build the new substation next summer.

The council also:

* Approved $50 fines for businesses that do not register annually with the city, a free service. This year, 25 businesses have not registered.

* Approved letting the mayor sign agreements to repay the three mobile home parks for overcharges by the city. Willowhaven alone will receive $43,500

* Accepted the resignation of city treasurer David McIntire as of Dec. 23.

* Approved an ordinance letting the city mow tall grass more than one time after sending a single letter to a property owner.

* Approved the hiring of part-time police officer Thomas Hochbaum.