City to build natural gas filling stations

Come November, motorists with vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas should be able to fill up at a new station in Grand Junction.

City officials already are working with EnCana to create a station for larger commercial vehicles at what is called a slow- fill station. On Monday night, the City Council gave the OK for the use of grant funds to create an adjoining station or a fast-fill station to service smaller vehicles.

“I think this is one of those few things that actually works for local government to kick-start,” council member Bonnie Beckstein said. “There are so many pluses. We have natural gas in our community, and it burns so much cleaner.”

Two Grand Valley Transit buses soon will be equipped to run on compressed natural gas. The city has ordered four trash-hauling trucks and, if the budget allows, will also replace a street sweeper truck and upgrade another trash-hauling vehicle to accept the alternative fuel.

Council members said they felt comfortable supporting the new technology for the first slow-fill station. The stations will be located at the city shops off West Avenue near the Riverside Parkway.

An EnCana grant of $150,000 and a Governor’s Energy Office grant of $122,000 will pay for the construction of the fast-fill station.

In other news:

Council members approved an ordinance to annex the Cris-Mar enclave, about 109 acres north and east of 29 and F roads. Areas in an enclave must be annexed into the city after five years, according to state law.

The area has been an enclave, or surrounded by city boundaries, since March 2005. A public hearing on the matter is set for Oct. 18.

Council members approved by a 4-1 vote outsourcing the printing and mailing of the city’s utility bills to Master’s Touch LLC. of Spokane, Wash. The contract costs $167,565 a year.

According to Jim Finlayson, the city’s information technology manager, the move would save the city almost $35,000 a year.

No jobs would be cut in the department, although two jobs were eliminated there earlier this year.

Frank Goff, of Mail Managers, said he doubted the move would equate to that much of a savings for the city because the city already receives the lowest postage rate possible.

Goff, whose company is contracted to stuff envelopes,  affix postage and send utility bills, said outsourcing would remove $7,000 a year in local payrolls and more in tax revenue.

Goff said his bid was $13,000 more than the winning bid.

Council member Tom Kenyon dissented, saying he normally agreed with governments saving money where they could, but he didn’t support taking money from the local community.

Council members Gregg Palmer and Sam Susuras were absent from Monday’s meeting.


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