HUBER HEIGHTS — The Huber Heights energy aggregation program was short circuited once again at Monday night’s city council meeting.
The program, designed to allow the city to negotiate better rates with energy suppliers, last year was the subject of lengthy debate and a veto by Mayor Tom McMasters. Council returned to the program earlier this year and voted to hire Energy Alliances as its consultant for the program.
On Monday, Rich Surace of Energy Alliances was on hand to explain his proposal to contract with AEP Energy for a rate of 4.99 cents per kilowatt hour. Residents who did not want to participate would be able to opt out of the city-wide program.
Councilman Ed Lyons was absent from Monday’s meeting, Council Member Janell Smith left the meeting early and when the vote on the program was taken, Councilman Tyler Starline was out of the room. When Glenn Otto and Richard Shaw voted against the resolution, it failed to get the needed votes for passage. Five votes are needed to pass a resolution and with only three yes votes it fell short.
That left council in a bit of a quandary what to do next.
“I’ve got no desire to continue the discussion on energy aggregation,” Shaw said. “I voted no on it before, I voted no on it again. The residents I spoke with don’t feel that this is a plausible way forward” due to the rates and promotions that are available to individuals.
Council Member Nancy Byrge had a different view.
“The voters voted for it, right?” she said. “It seems like our responsibility is to give them an opportunity to take part in this program. To just blow it off, I don’t think is the right thing to do. I would suggest that it be brought up at the next work session.”
McMasters suggested that council take up the issue again before a full council. He proposed council address the issue again at the next council meeting, at which time the proposal would most likely include a new rate due to changes in the energy market.
Also on Monday night, council:
- Passed on to second reading two ordinances concerning refinancing existing debt to save money due to lower interest rates. City Manager Rob Schommer said the city could save as much as $700,000 over the life of the bonds by refinancing bonds that total $3,685,000 and $8,870,000.
- Approved an ordinance appropriating a temporary right of way at 6980 Chambersburg Road to accommodate the widening of Chambersburg Road.
- Approved the purchase of an asphalt repair unit for $57,000 and a skid-steer loader for $52,000.
- Heard City Manager Rob Schommer explain that a survey on the parks master plan will be mailed soon. A follow-up on-line survey also will be available for residents to express opinions on the plan. Schommer also said work is about 70 percent complete on the water pressure project design.
- Voted to excuse the absences of Council Members Janell Smith and Mark Campbell from the Sept. 11 council meeting. Council did not excuse the pair at the Sept. 11 meeting, but reversed their vote when Smith and Campbell Monday night explained why they were absent.
- Heard Shaw say that he plans to bring up information about medical marijuana at the next council work session, including information from the Regional Air Pollution Council.
- Heard Fire Chief Mark Ashworth invite the public to the department’s open house on Sunday from 12:30-3 p.m. at Station 22, 7008 Brandt Pike.
Council’s next meeting will be Oct. 9, 7 p.m., at city hall. The next council work session will be held Oct. 3, 6 p.m. at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.