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Cottonwood Shores gets OK to purchase water plant generator from federal surplus

Cottonwood Shores addresses water system issues

The city of Cottonwood Shores raised two service pumps and motors at the water plant to protect them from potential flooding of this pond adjacent to the facility. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The city of Cottonwood Shores is facing competition in purchasing a power generator for the city’s water treatment system. 

“After the big ice storm, everyone is looking for them,” City Administrator J.C. Hughes said. 

The City Council granted Hughes and Mayor Don Orr the authority to purchase one from the state of Texas’ federal surplus, a cheaper option than buying a generator from traditional suppliers, which could run as high as $300,000.

“A lot of times (a federal surplus generator is) 10 cents on the dollar. … It could be $15,000 to $30,000,” Orr told the council at its meeting Thursday, July 1. 

The only issue is the city has to be quick about it.

“The problem with dealing with (the federal surplus) is you have to have the check in hand or you miss your deal,” the mayor said. 

The city receives emails alerting it to equipment available for purchase at one of the military bases in San Antonio, he told the council. 

During the February winter storm, the city’s water plant lost power due to rolling statewide blackouts, leading to the system freezing up as water stopped flowing.

A generator would kick in and keep water flowing through the system when the electricity goes out, a real possibility this summer as high temperatures test an already strained state power grid.

“(The generator) is a big ticket item that’s a priority,” Orr told councilors.

In other action, the city spent $7,300 to raise two service pumps and motors to protect them from flooding from a pond adjacent to the water plant.

The City Council also planned out its budget process this summer with workshops during the July 15 regular meeting and a July 22 special meeting. Times and agendas will be posted closer to those dates.

During the July 22 meeting, the council could give preliminary approval to the 2021-22 budget and tax rate. The council will adopt the tax rate and budget during its Sept. 2 meeting.