A majority of Toledo City Council voted Tuesday to approve $1.9 million for the 2013 operation of the city's offline methane co-generation plant.
Council voted 9-2 in favor of the contract with Solar Turbines Inc. to run and maintain the plant at the city's Bayview Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Councilmen Rob Ludeman and Tom Waniewski voted against spending the money because of problems at the methane-burning facility that is supposed to produce electricity. Councilman Shaun Enright was not present.
The plant, which is designed to use methane generated by the Hoffman Road landfill and delivered via pipeline, is millions of dollars over budget and has been idle for nearly seven months because of problems with the gas-delivery system.
The methane is instead being burned in a flare at the landfill.
“I hope it sends a message. … I want to see this work efficiently,” Mr. Ludeman said.
Mr. Waniewski said his no vote should send a message that he is also unsatisfied with the service so far.
The $1.9 million request includes a fixed annual fee of $1.6 million for co-generation operation and maintenance services and $300,000 for related services such as spare parts, lubrication, filtration, chemical treatment, stack testing, and system modifications and programming.
The Bell administration said the methane might have stopped flowing because the collection system’s pipes could have been crushed in 2010 when dredgings from the Ottawa River were dumped at the landfill. The city also plans to spend an additional $1.3 million expanding the methane collection system at the landfill.
Also, council voted 11-0 to spend:
● $560,629 from the capital improvement budget and $222,567 from the city's general fund for an Accela Automation database system.
● $7.49 million from the capital improvement budget for the 2013 Matches & Planning Program, $4.4 million for the year's general resurfacing program, $350,000 for the 2013 street seal and curb program, $350,000 for the sidewalk program, and $75,000 for the Nautical Village project.
● $600,000 for a salt storage structure.
● $554,000 for bridge improvement projects.
● $100,000 toward a feasibility study and design cost of a Nelson Street embankment project.
● $450,000 for improvements to playgrounds and sport courts.
● $680,000 for marked and unmarked police vehicles.
● $150,000 for an automated timekeeping system for the police department.
Several councilmen questioned why the city needed the $150,000 system after the city has spent about $16 million for financial accounting software called SAP.
The $150,000 product comes from a different vendor, city officials said. Adding to the SAP system would cost $351,718, according to a memo from City Finance Director Patrick McLean.
Councilman George Sarantou said he would hold a finance committee meeting Feb. 21 on the SAP software.
“We may have purchased the vacuum but not all the attachments,” he said.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: email@example.com or 419-724-6171.