By ERIC X. VICCARO
Levee District No. 3 set its budget for the 2022 Fiscal Year during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
The levee district proposed $322,455 in expenditures, with nearly half of the total coming in the line item for repairs, maintenance and improvements ($150,000).
Levee superintendent Norman Gallup said one of the most important tasks to be completed during the next year will be the expansive crown widening project.
Gallup estimated the crown widening project will cost at least $15,000; however, the there has yet to be bid-letting process.
The district has a permit, issued from the United States Corps of Engineers, which will last five years.
At May’s meeting, there were discussions on beginning the crown widening once budget figures had been determined.
Gallup also said it’s important to work on electrical issues at the levee, and said he would get quotes on costs for surge protectors.
The general consensus of the board was that surge protection is just as important as replacing soft starts.
A soft starter is a solid-state device that protects alternating current (AC) electric motors by limiting a large initial in-rush of current associating with the start-up procedure.
Proper surge protection is necessary as well, especially in case the levee is struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm.
The board also said it will look into whether Citizens Electric Corporation (CEC), the levee’s provider, has any rebate programs to offer.
It also would be beneficial for the levee to purchase a small building to be placed at the pump station — Gallup could use the facility during times of emergency – for example, the flood of 2019.
Levee board president Vern Bauman noted there is a 10 percent buffer for small projects – ones costing less than $10,000. Gallup will not need full approval from the board to begin on these small projects.
The levee board has done a remarkable job of reducing utility costs since a high of $83,864.92 in 2018. During 2019, which featured a flood, $60,104.89 was used.
So far in 2021, $9,775.28 has been spent on utility, but the levee board has not received all the bills from CEC yet.