Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
By Janie Southard
Electrical interruptions increase this year
  ST. MARYS - Recent blips in electric service have put 2008 ahead in electric interruptions over the 13 run up in 2007. The city's electric system department credits most outages to scampering and inquisitive squirrels and raccoons, now, of course, deceased.
Jerry Wolfe, electric system superintendent, told council's electric committee on Monday night that the city already has installed insulated transformer leads and bushing protectors in an "effort to limit these outages."
Additionally, recent routine maintenance on the oil circuit breaker in a city substation unexpectedly caused an electrical fault, which resulted in several businesses losing power. The cause of this unanticipated failure is not yet known.
The electric department responded to 33 service requests: 11 street lights, nine trees trimmed, 12 underground locates and one traffic/crosswalk bulb.
It's now time for the city to pony up more than $17,000 to the state for lease of canal land, some of the cost is from three years ago.
"This is because of internal issues with the state, which resulted in us receiving no lease bills since 2005 ... They haven't charged any penalties," said Safety Service Director Tom Hitchcock, adding the state has offered a master lease to cover all canal land in the city, which means an annual payment of $3,000 for all.
Councilman Jim Harris asked how much the city is doing with recycling. Although Hitchcock said he did not have that number available at that moment, he commented that the city "is not making money."
"In fact, we're losing money," said city auditor Douglas Riesen.
In his report to council, Hitchcock listed September's curbside recycling was 19.89 tons and total refuse for the first half of October was 149.94 tons.
Last month the police department received 931 calls for service, conducted 64 criminal investigations and 10 traffic accident investigations.
Fire department stats year to date include: 802 ambulance, 215 fires, 61 miscellaneous calls and 90 complaints addressed.
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Partly cloudy