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Ninth electric substation on track in Geneva

GENEVA – As Geneva bets on the economy continuing to recover, it is poised to invest $3 million to $5 million on a new electric substation to supply power to 200 vacant acres east of Kirk Road and south of Route 38.

Aldermen at a recent special Committee of the Whole meeting agreed by consensus on a proposal from Public Works Director Dan Dinges to get started.

The city, which owns its electric utility, has eight substations, according to its 2012-13 annual report.

Dinges said it takes a year to build an electric transformer, so getting started now would reduce the lead time once developers are interested.

With a 20 percent deposit of $260,000 to get the transformers built, the city can be closer to project ready once developers show interest in annexing and developing the vacant farmland into a light industrial park.

Officials said they did not want to miss a development opportunity for lack of transformers being ready, as the design and construction phases already would take at least a year.

“Geneva has a long history of preparing for opportunities,” Mayor Kevin Burns said in a text response to a question. “Investing for the long term via necessary electrical upgrades is consistent with our practices.”

Burns already had predicted interest in that area for this year.

The corridor is included in the Southeast Master Plan for redevelopment, which was a 2012 amendment to Geneva’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan.

The various costs for a new substation are $1.3 million for two transformers; $60,000 for ComEd engineering to hook up to it; $100,000 for substation design.

The other costs are based on construction, location and contingencies, putting the estimate at $3 million to $5 million, city spokesman Kevin Stahr said. 

The first expenditure of the 20 percent transformer deposit would be made in the second or third quarter of the 2014-15 fiscal year which begins May 1, Stahr said.

Expenses for the project would be spent over a three-year budget period, taking funds from the capital account in the city’s electric division, Stahr said.

“Our capital account is used for planned infrastructure upgrades to enhance our system,” Stahr said. 

If developers step forward, the plan is to have the substation built and ready to go by the end of the third fiscal year, he said.

“We’re trying to get our pieces in place at this point,” Stahr said. 

If no developers step forward, Stahr said the city can use them to replace existing transformers.

Officials said they could try to recapture the substation costs through annexation agreements.

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