Several utility projects around the city of Jasper are beginning to take shape.

Last night, the Jasper Utility Service Board heard an update on several ongoing projects. 2 updates came from committee meetings held last week and the first of those updates came from the electric committee concerning an ongoing electrical rate study for the city of Jasper.

The study is being led by Umbaugh and Associates and so far has found that electrical rates in Jasper are in the lower range among communities across the state. More study is needed on the impact of the tracker which governs how much of the cost of electricity that the city buys is passed on to ratepayers.

Utility board chairman Wayne Schuetter says keeping rates down for the city’s customers is a priority:

The board also heard an update from the gas committee on a recent meeting held with residents of Whoderville. That community is looking to have the city extend gas service to the Whoderville area. The project seeks to complete the gas line from State Road 164 down through a neighborhood to make a connection with the College View Estates. The goal is to give connection on 2 ends to the neighborhood while providing another way for service to the College View Estates.

Schuetter says potential participation will determine the fate of this project:

The project would be paid for by the lot owners. To this point, it is uncertain if enough lot owners would be interested in doing the project. Meetings between the gas committee and Whoderville residents will be held in the future.

An update on the 3rd Avenue water main replacement project was also given last night. The board was informed by Midwestern Engineers that the project is almost completed with the exception of cleanup work. The last fire hydrant has been installed and the line is now in service. Trench repairs will begin sometime in the near future once hot asphalt becomes available.

In final notes, the board heard a 15 minute presentation from Dr. Norma Kreilein concerning the biomass issue and particulate matter. Kreilein distributed a 14 page packet to board members and others outlining concerns of hers. Among those concerns were accusations that city officials laughed at her son’s proposal for the power plant site during a VUJC lecture in October of last year and the accountability of the city to its ratepayers.