FARMINGTON -- A bit of hindsight and several power failures have spurred city officials to correct a major omission from a new City Hall.
Officials voted recently to purchase and install -- for $33,203 -- a new generator for City Hall. When the structure was being built, city officials thought omitting a generator would save money.
The bid was the higher of two submitted for the backup power system, but Keith Johnson, city budget director, urged the council to spend a bit more to buy a generator that's the same brand used throughout all city buildings. He said using the same kind of equipment would make it easier to maintain.
The cost for the new City Hall, completed in July 2010, was about $3.85 million. The cost of a new generator was whittled from the project during the planning stages.
That omission came to light earlier this year when the city lost power to its building at least three times during a short time span.
City Manager Dave Millheim said the outages caused considerable problems in keeping the business of the city going. Outages occurred again this month, he said.
Besides the number of people unable to transact city business, Millheim said, the power loss led to the replacement of a server board at a cost of about $2,000.
Mayor Scott Harbertson said officials provided wiring for a generator in the plans for City Hall, but thought they could transfer an old generator to the new facility.
"We were pinching pennies," Harbertson said in hindsight.
The mayor said the city's current setup allows only 15 minutes of power to back up city systems, which isn't enough, and resulted in the need to replace a server board.
Led by former city manager Max Forbush, city officials were able to construct the new city complex using the sale of the former City Hall and a bond to avoid the need to raise property taxes.
In going step by step through the process, city leaders often weighed the merits of possible options and their costs, against the final price tag of the building.