Sep
28

New Hydroelectric Plant Proposed for Kittanning Borough


from the KP NewsDesk

Local officials and citizens were informed of a new hydroelectric power generating plant that may be built in Kittanning.

The plant would be built on the Lock 7 dam along the shoreline of the Allegheny River in Kittanning Borough.

The project is being proposed by Rye Development, with primary offices in Portland, Oregon.

Rye Development Vice-President Erik Steimle led the discussion and listened to concerns raised by citizens at Tuesday's public meeting at the Kittanning Township Fire Hall.

Rye Development Vice-President Erik Steimle led the discussion and listened to concerns raised by citizens at Tuesday’s public meeting at the Kittanning Township Fire Hall.

Rye Vice-President Erik Steimle and Environmental Vice-Present Kelli Doherty explained the company’s project to approximately 12 people in an afternoon session who consisted of government officials, business leaders, and residents who could be displaced when the new plant is constructed.

Steimle said the proposal includes a 16.5 mega-watt power house that could potentially provide electricity for as many as 8,000 residents.  The power “house” would be located on the opposite side of Lock 7.

Steimle said that although Rye is applying to build plants all over the United States, they do not actually have any of them up and running yet.

“Right now, we are beginning the feasibility and permitting  process for a new hydro power project here.  The earliest the project construction could begin would be sometime in 2020,” Steimle told the Kittanning Paper.  He said the construction of the plant could employ anywhere from 50 to 200 workers. However, once completed, only a staff of three persons will be needed to actually work in the facility.

Access to the facility and a parking lot could be built through the purchase of property off of Maple Street. Steimle said homeowners have not yet been contacted as the project is still in the preliminary stages.

Miller from Snyder Associated Companies discussed dredging operations and participated personally in the discussion.

Jeff Miller from Snyder Associated Companies discussed dredging operations and participated personally in the discussion.

Jeff Miller with Snyder Associated Companies brought up concerns about the dredging moratorium current in effect for this part of the Allegheny River.  Steimle said that construction is a permitted activity in the water and therefore does not come under the same rules as business activity that was previously conducted by Snyder company, Glacial Sand and Gravel.

“It’s not any different; it’s just a different industry,” Miller told Doherty. He also questioned if Rye could financially support the Allegheny River Development Corporation, who fund-raises to keep the locks operational for recreational boating each year. Steimle was not able to discuss any agreements at this point since the planning is exploratory.

Kittanning First Ward Council persons Betsy Wilt and David Croyle expressed concerns with running power lines down Water Street and crossing Market.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars on Market Street. We’ve done a complete revitalization project that buried all of those (utility) lines. I would like to see how you are going to go from that location without going over Market Street to carry those lines with the capacity you are talking about,” Croyle said.

Croyle also said he would like to see an agreement between Rye and the borough to provide funding that would make it advantageous for the community to support the project.

Steimle encouraged the public to file comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by writing to them at 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426 and reference docket P-14522.  Comments may be filed electronically by visiting: www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.

A project map shows the location of the newly-proposed hydroelectric power generating plant that Rye Development wants to build on the Allegheny River in Kittanning Borough.

A project map shows the location of the newly-proposed hydroelectric power generating plant that Rye Development wants to build on the Allegheny River in Kittanning Borough.

Sep
28

School Directors Reviewing Financial Consultants

Piper Jaffray Senior Vice-President Randy Frederick passes out information to Armstrong School District board directors prior to his pitch for the district to continue and use the firm as financial consultants.

Piper Jaffray Senior Vice-President Randy Frederick passes out information to Armstrong School District board directors prior to his pitch for the district to continue and use the firm as financial consultants.

by Jonathan Weaver

Before incurring more debt or redeeming financial bonds, Armstrong School District board directors want to make sure they have the right team behind them.

Last night, school directors interviewed officials from Piper Jaffray Companies, Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC and PNC Capital Markets regarding current bonds that would influence the construction of the new Armstrong Junior/Senior High stadium and renovations at Elderton and Shannock Valley Elementary schools as well as West Shamokin Junior/Senior High’s football field.

Specific bonds discussed included the $16.2 million bonds financed in 2007 –which can be redeemed in mid-November – and the $80.5 million Build America Bonds financed in 2010.

District Director of Finances and Operations Sam Kirk has interviewed companies like this in the past during his career, and said school directors have a basic goal.

“I think what we’re looking for right now is, with anything, the most bang for our buck,” Kirk said. “Anything that’s considered financial in nature, we’re looking at to make sure we get the best value for the district.

And, we’re trying to build a long-term relationship with a company that’s going to look out for not only our current needs, but also for our future needs that are out there.”

The evening started with a 45-minute presentation by current-bond underwriter Piper Jaffrey – and their Senior Vice-President Randy Frederick.

Frederick, an investment banker with more than 35 years of experience, asserted that Piper Jaffray’s efforts have led the school district to the bond state they are currently in – which included saving the school district more than $1 million.

“I think we understand your debt probably better than anyone because we’ve been reviewing it over-and-over again,” Frederick said.

But, no final decision was made last night. School directors will consider each company individually before discussing it with their fellow board directors and administrators at the October 6 open-caucus session.

For more on each banking option, stay tuned for the Kittanning Paper Week-End Edition.