DRA grant helps fund ERC generator

Posted November 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast a few weeks ago, many major facilities like hospitals and housing developments were without electricity for an extended period of time. Should a similar unfortunate situation take place here, one of this town’s biggest assets, the Emergency Response Center (ERC), is now protected.

Housing our local police and ambulance services, the ERC was recently hooked up to a back-up generator. According to Police Chief Britt Smith, this back-up generator, which runs on natural gas, can keep the ERC building running as long as it’s needed. As long as there is a supply of natural gas and the motor keeps running properly, the ERC is in good hands. (The back-up generator can also be switched over to propane if needed.)

At the cost of $40,000, this generator could not have been possible without the help of the Dubuque Racing Association. Smith applied for the DRA grant to help fund this needed project. The city sought out bids for the installation of the generator once it could be purchased. The installation went to Justice Electric in Cedar Rapids. Smith applied for $20,000 from DRA and received $10,000 towards the generator project. The remaining funds for this project then came from the city’s general fund.

The $40,000 included the purchase of the generator, installation, labor costs and retrofitting everything for the hook-up.

“We now have 100 percent back-up power here,” said Chief Smith.

As part of the first to respond to a natural disaster or major incident in Monticello and the surrounding areas, Smith said it was important to have the back-up power.

“Without being able to respond, there’s no assistance,” he said.

From the start of the ERC project, Smith said the idea was to purchase and install a back-up generator right away. Due to increased expenses and additional, unexpected costs, the generator was cut from the project. After the last goal-setting discussion session with the City Council, Smith said they decided to follow through with it at this time, knowing it was a needed project.

The MPD was not the only local entity to receive funds from the DRA. Others included: Camp Courageous of Iowa-$40,000, Carpenter Elementary School-$5,000, Hopkinton Fire Department-$5,000, MFD-$4,985, MHS-$5,589 and Shannon Elementary School-$5,000.