Lake Placid approves borrowing $750K for circuit breaker

LAKE PLACID — The village board unanimously approved a resolution to borrow up to $750,000 in serial bonds for what Mayor Craig Randall described as a much-needed 115-kilovolt circuit breaker, a vote that had been tabled at a couple of meetings prior.

The money that the village may borrow would allow for the village to buy and install the electrical equipment as well as renovate a building housing certain village switches, Randall said.

The mayor added that the main reason the village needs the new electrical equipment is because the village’s current equivalent switch is located at Lake Colby. Randall explained that the powering down of a new switch would not affect portions of Saranac Lake and Ray Brook, including the federal prison, as the current switch does.

“It’s part of a project that is currently being engineered,” Randall said Tuesday. “(The village electric department is) asking if we can secure the bids on the circuit breaker at this point, because the actual construction of the switch takes a period of time and we expect it may be anywhere from four to eight to — in a bad situation — 12 months until it will be available. And it will certainly affect the timing of the installation of this switch at the substation.”

“When the substation behind the firehouse was created in the late ’70s for the 1980 Olympics,” Randall continued, “the switch is actually currently, and has been, located at Lake Colby. What that means is, in order to power down that substation, the shut down will affect portions of Saranac Lake, Ray Brook and the federal prison. Therefore it’s always been known this circuit breaker needed to be installed.”

The resolution the board unanimously approved Tuesday grants the village the authority to seek bids for the project. Randall said it “seems likely” the village will move forward with the project, though they can reject bids in their entirety.

“It seems to make sense to move this piece of it,” Randall said.

The vote was originally scheduled to take place at two prior village board meetings earlier this year, but Randall said it was “slightly premature.”

“The installation of this is something that was known about as early as the late 1970s and ’80s,” Randall said late last month. “They put it in, none of us were around then — my guess is they were rushing to get that line in because power demands were increasing rapidly.

“There are also certainly penalties right now we would incur if we were to power down that we would have to pay National Grid,” Randall added in January.

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