St. Clair now has an additional place to use as an emergency operations center if there ever is a need during and after a disaster.

City Administrator Rick Childers informed the board of aldermen earlier this week that the emergency backup generator is installed and working after several months of planning and installation.

“We had a test run using natural gas and it seemed to cycle OK,” Childers said during the Jan. 20 board meeting. “The generator is in place and functioning.”

The aldermen and city officials deemed the backup generator a necessity in 2012 and put aside funds for one in the 2013 budget.

Last September, the board approved a turnkey bid of $85,900 from Brda Electric Inc. of Fenton for the generator and its installation.

Work started later last year and recently was completed.

Brda Electric bid was determined to be the lowest and best for the project. The unit will be able to run city hall, including the police department, in case of some kind of weather-related or other emergency.


Before the bid was approved last fall, Childers had been researching generators for months after the aldermen approved money for one in the city’s 2013 budget. City officials placed the generator near the top of their priority list.

Before the generator’s installation, if severe weather or some kind of natural disaster knocked out power in St. Clair, including city hall, there was no backup power source.

“I met with our new fire chief (Les Crews),” Mayor Ron Blum said during the meeting. “I told him that city hall now can be used as a command center in case of an emergency.”

Sewer Backup

Aldermen also heard a reimbursement request from resident Richard Williams, who claimed his sewer line backed up into his basement on Oct. 31, causing $13,000 damage to his home and another $2,000 to install a wastewater backflow valve.

Williams, who lives at 1017 Sara Jane Lane on the city’s south side, was asking to be reimbursed for the cost and installation of the valve.

“All I’m asking for is the $2,000 to make me whole,” he said.

Williams said his basement had 2 or 3 inches of water and sewage in it on Oct. 31 after the area experienced about a half-inch of rain during the day.

It was determined that his 6-inch sewer line to the main that runs along the street in front of his home was clear.

“We’ve been there 20 years and have never had a problem before this,” Williams said.

He said a couple of his neighbors experienced the same problem that day.

When the situation was addressed by city crews and the valve was installed, the cost of the repair was turned into the city’s insurance carrier, MIRMA.

MIRMA determined that the city wasn’t liable, Mayor Ron Blum said.

“MIRMA makes the call,” Blum said. “MIRMA determines whose responsibility it is. ... It is the city’s policy that we are responsible for the sewer mains but that anything tapped into the main is the responsibility of the homeowner.”

Williams claimed, however, that “there is no way” he and his wife could have clogged the 6-inch line that runs from his home to the main.

After some discussion, Blum recommended the city do some research and obtain some additional information before the board makes a decision on the reimbursement request.

The aldermen agreed.

Travis Dierker

As the board meeting got under way, Blum officially introduced former Ward 2 Alderman Travis Dierker as St. Clair’s new assistant city administrator.

Dierker resigned from his position on the board earlier this month so he could assume the position.

City Clerk Kim French was absent from the meeting, so Dierker took the minutes.