EAST PALESTINE City plans to keep its Y2K generator
The mayor said the generator would sell for far less than its value.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- The city will keep its white elephant.
City council has been debating for months about what to do with one of two generators bought for the sewer and water plant during the Y2K worries of late 1999.
City Manager Gary Clark said he has talked with a number of city employees since he became manager two weeks ago and they believe keeping the generator is a good idea.
He said the generator would be connected to the sewer plant during the next phase of sewer system renovations.
Council at first discussed keeping the generator, but as months wore on and the generator was not connected, most favored selling it.
Mayor Raymond Hull estimated it would cost about $10,000 to install the generator, but that estimate was later reduced to about $4,500. Hull said the drawback to selling the generator is that it could only be sold through a used-equipment bidding process and it would sell for far less than its value.
Seemed logical: Amid fears of widespread power outages and other problems that experts predicted would occur when computers worldwide switched from Dec. 31, 1999 to Jan. 1, 2000, spending nearly $100,000 for generators to keep East Palestine running seemed like a good idea.
After a July 1999 thunderstorm knocked out both the main and backup Ohio Edison lines to the water and sewer plants, the state Environmental Protection Agency thought it was a good idea, too.
At the EPA's suggestion, the city invested $65,438 in a generator for the sewer plant and $38,415 in a generator for the water plant.
The generator was connected to the water plant system, then EPA officials said that perhaps the city didn't need the sewer system generator after all.
New Year's Day came and went with no mishaps, and it seemed the city had a white elephant on its hands.
The generator, which Hull said is about the size of a 1-ton van, requires underground wiring and a concrete slab to sit on. It has a 600-gallon fuel tank and is enclosed in a sound-proof casing.