BEATRICE – Utility customers should like the next two-year proposed budget of the Beatrice Board of Public Works.  It includes no rate increases for electric, water and sewer service over each of the next two years.

The BPW Monday recommended city council approval of the public works budgets for the next two years.  Board members examined each department’s plans, during a Monday noon meeting. 

Among major capital improvements, the sewer department will see significant spending for a de-watering project at the wastewater treatment plan, totaling about $3.5 million.

In the electric department replacing a vacuum truck is the largest capital expense for the coming year, of about $450,000.  Substation improvements are also a big ticket item.  BPW Manager Tobias Tempelmeyer says the city is planning to move economic development spending from city sales tax funds to the electric department.

In the water department, replacement of water mains is proposed at $350,000 and engineering work is expected in preparation for boring a well field transmission line under the river. 

In the Street Department, a mill and overlay project of about $635,000 and replacement of a street sweeper for $285,000 are scheduled.  Concrete reconstruction on parts of Ella and Bell Streets would cost about $546,000.

City Engineer James Burroughs says funding a pavement evaluation process using a three-dimensional process will help the city set street priorities.

Utility departments plan to share the cost of a $75,000 storage facility to be built next to the BPW Service Center, in north Beatrice.

BPW Manager Tobias Tempelmeyer says including all public works departments, there is total current debt of about $1.6 million, which he says is very low considering the size of the operations.  The city is paying interest charges of between 1.6% and 2.8%.  All of the current debt is expected to be paid off by 2024.  

Major reconstruction of the city’s wastewater plant facilities will require a revenue bond issue in the future, but that could begin after the current debt is paid off.