The Breckenridge Public Utilities Commissioners met for their first time via conference call since Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered the state to shelter-in-place, requiring social distancing, low crowd volume and working from home wherever possible.

Public Utilities Director Neil Crocker shared that the electrical, public works, water and wastewater crews are all continuing to perform their jobs, however, as divided teams. He divided his teams so that while one half of the crew is working for one week, the other half is off. The workers are continuing to be paid throughout this.

The purpose of this being done is so that in the event that one member of the crew falls ill, the other member will not be at risk for infection or have to go into a 14-day quarantine. Thus, allowing for the crew’s work to be completed.

“We are down to half crews at a time,” Crocker said. “I’m not worried about the volume of the work that gets done over the next weeks to come. The main intent is that we keep our crews healthy and that in the event of an emergency, like a power outage, I am able to have one staff member from the crew to address that emergency.”

Crocker said that the crew is continuing to complete tasks, however, there are some jobs that require more than one person, making some tasks postponed. Although, he said the flooding threat has subsided and there isn’t a high volume of work to be completed at this time and so the timing is fortunate.

In other news, the commissioners unanimously voted to recommend to the City Council to advertise for bids of the Twito Substation circuit upgrade. The resolution is expected to be approved by the council at their meeting Monday, April 6.

The upgrade to be completed will primarily consist of a directional boring, a minimal impact method of installing underground utilities, to place an empty inner duct. The linear footage required to be bored will be approximately 22,000 feet and the inner duct to be pulled in will be approximately 60,000 feet. The diameter of the ducts vary in size from 1-2.5 inches.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and keeping with Walz’s shelter-in-place order, the bid may not be open to the public. However, the contractor will be required to have all equipment and staff to complete the work. The Public Utilities crews will only be providing direction and oversight. Although the city’s crew will provide all required materials to be buried including the inner duct.

The new water plant has finally reached full capacity aand is tentatively scheduled to start running Wednesday this week after Tuesday’s cameral inspection through the plant’s lines.

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