Glenwood Springs’ electric future is blowin’ in the wind |

Glenwood Springs’ electric future is blowin’ in the wind

Greg Mass

The Glenwood Springs City Council has approved an agreement to increase the amount of wind-powered electricity the city buys from the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.Once the increase occurs, 5 percent of Glenwood Springs electricity will come from wind turbines, making it per capita the second-largest wind-power consumer in the United States, city manager Mike Copp said. “We’re really supporting the MEAN wind energy program,” public works director Robin Millyard said. The windmills used to produce the electricity are huge, Millyard said. “They cost just under $2 million apiece,” he said. The blades are 118 feet across and from ground to windmill hub, it’s 230 feet. “You can see them from 12 miles out on the interstate,” he said. “They’re first-class deals. We’re really proud to be a part of it.”The wind power will not affect electric rates, Copp said. In other council business Thursday:-It approved a new jail contract between Garfield County and Glenwood Springs. It will cost the city $15 per day, plus any nonemergency medical expenses, to house each prisoner. “I recommend we pass this sucker and get on with using the jail,” city attorney Teresa Williams said. Police chief Terry Wilson wholeheartedly agreed. “Just open the doors,” he bellowed from the back of Council Chambers. “We don’t want to drive to Meeker anymore.”-Council also passed two other ordinances aimed at curtailing crime in the city. The first allows police to prosecute anyone carrying a weapon in a city-owned park. The ordinance was put forth so police have a statute to stop people from inappropriate shooting – such as blasting away at a sign – in South Canyon, designated as city parkland. The ordinance was passed with the stipulation that the city place signs out there so people know when they’re on city land and when they are on Bureau of Land Management land. Copp said the city would put up the signs, but warned that they likely wouldn’t last long because of the inappropriate shooting. The other adds a 10 percent surcharge to any alcohol- or drug-related municipal fine. The money is slated to go into a fund that will help to fund the Colorado West detox center. “I don’t really have a good idea of how much that would generate,” city attorney Teresa Williams said. “It’s not intended to offset all the costs, but it’s intended to help.”-Ride Glenwood Springs ridership has been on the upswing since the introduction of in-town interchangeable passes with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, City Councilman and Transportation Committee member Don Gillespie reported. -Three proposals for the city’s proposed whitewater park have been submitted to the city, Councilman and Parks and Recreation Board member Larry Emery said. -The Colorado Historical Board will send a field representative out to Coal Camp, an old coal town located in South Canyon, to determine whether it is eligible to become one of the state’s “Most Endangered Places,” Councilwoman Jean Martensen reported.”They select three or four each year. If it’s selected, they help find the funding to restore it and place interpretive signs there,” Martensen said. -Several firefighters were honored by City Council Thursday for all their efforts during the Coal Seam Fire, the ensuing mudslides and their everyday work as part of Fire Prevention Week. The special week always falls around Oct. 9, the day Mrs. O’Leary’s cow allegedly started the Great Chicago Fire. -Williams announced that Jesse Smith, assistant manager for Garfield County, was taken off the lawsuit filed against the city and its Downtown Development Authority by Colorado Mountain College. Smith was personally listed as a plaintiff in the suit as a county taxpayer.The suit was filed in an effort to get the city to drop its tax increment financing method of money generation. Plaintiffs say the method would shortchange other entities and taxpayers in Garfield County of tax dollars. Also, Williams announced the city filed a motion for summary judgment, which could get the case dropped, or some parts of it dropped, thereby simplifying it. “I don’t think we’ll have a decision by the end of the year,” she said.

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