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United Rentals : Cost to repair Conroe's flooded sewage plant rising

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09/11/2017 | 06:00am CET

The price tag for repairs and new equipment for Conroe's sewage treatment plant -- which was flooded by Hurricane Harvey -- is going up.

When the Conroe City Council meets during its workshop on Wednesday council members will consider a contract to rent three generators for three months that will end up running $427,698.

Last week the council approved spending more than $1 million for new switches and pumps at the plant.

With approval of the contract for the generators, the equipment would be rented from United Rentals in Louisiana. City officials say United Rentals is the only rental company with those type of emergency generators available for rent.

Besides the generators to be considered this week, the council last week approved spending $750,000 for generators and transfer switches and another $327,820 for four pumps at the plant. Three of those new pumps will replace pumps that were damaged when Harvey's floodwaters swamped the plant, while a fourth pump was due to be replaced before Harvey hit.

City officials say the plant, which was under about 10 feet of water at the height of Harvey's flooding, is being run on temporary power. With crews still assessing the damage to the plant's intricate electronics, pumps and other equipment, no final dollar amount has been released on how much it will cost to repair the plant.

"We're still going through all of the gear now," City Administrator Paul Virgadamo told The Courier.

Mayor Toby Powell says the cost of repairing the plant, which is operating at nearly 100 percent capacity, is expected to covered by insurance and reimbursements by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We were crippled but we had it flowing in about three days," Powell said of the plant.

In another matter, the City Council this week will also consider a new contract with The Players Theatre Company. City documents show under the new proposed contract for for the season beginning next July The Players would have to meet certain benchmarks and minimum standards.

Under the new agreement, the city would assume responsibility for electric utility services, but a $100,000 cap on ticket revenue paid to the city would be removed. The city revenue would also become general fund money, which is not restricted to any use.

The Players would also have to undergo a periodic audit and would be subjected to other matters that would, as city documents describe, "improve financial transparency."

In other matters scheduled to be discussed during the Wednesday workshop, the council will also consider a tower lease agreement with the Gulf Coast Regional 911 Emergency Communications District. The lease is for antenna space on the Montgomery County Hospital District East County tower would run $13,911 a year, with Conroe getting 49 percent of the revenue, or $6,816.51.

Also up for discussion this week, but in a closed session, the City Council will discuss its ongoing litigation with Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District. The City of Conroe filed a lawsuit against the district in 2015 claiming that it was acting beyond its legislative authority when it set limits on its groundwater production.

The City Council is scheduled to meet during its workshop Wednesday at 2 p.m., then holds its council meeting Thursday at 6 p.m.

© © Copyright 2017, Your Houston News, The Woodlands, TX., source Newspapers

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