HUBER HEIGHTS — Mayor Tom McMasters had to break a tie on the city’s energy aggregation progam Monday night.
Council considered a contract supplied by the city’s consultant Energy Alliances which calls for a rate of 5.02 cents per kilowatt hour for Huber Heights residents who decide to participate in the program. The rate was slightly higher than the 4.99 cents per kilowatt hour rate that was presented to council two weeks ago. With two council members missing from that meeting, the four positive votes were not enough to approve the resolution.
So on Monday night, council voted on the new contract – and once again could not produce enough votes to pass it. Council Members Glenn Otto, Tyler Starline, Janell Smith and Richard Shaw voted against the resolution while Judy Blankenship, Nancy Byrge, Mark Campbell and Ed Lyons voted for it.
That left the ball in McMasters’ court, since under the city’s charter the mayor breaks tie votes.
After asking a representative of Energy Alliances a few questions, McMasters decided to vote yes, approving the contract and jump-starting the city’s program.
Council also spent a good deal of time Monday night discussing cell phone towers. A public hearing was held to explain changes in the city’s zoning ordinance concerning cellular towers. Assistant City Manager Scott Falkowski explained that the changes were made in two areas.
The existing law called for cell towers to be located 200 feet from any nearby structures. The change makes the distance 200 feet from any structures and from any property lines, which means that the towers could not be located close to property lines.
The second change provided rules for micro towers, a new kind of technology that can be placed on existing poles or new poles along right-of-ways. The ordinance provides for limitations and rules for these new towers.
The change in cell tower rules was prompted by a recent dispute over plans for a placement of a cell tower near Taylorsville Road. The city faces litigation after turning down the request for construction of the tower. Law Director Jerry McDonald told council the changes will not affect the pending litigation since the Taylorsville request and ensuing legal action started before the changes were made.
McMasters questioned the need for the cell tower change.
“I’m just concerned that we’re in kind of a reactive type of input here that really is not necessary or really very productive for the city and the services that the city actually needs,” he said.
“I hope that we’re making a decision based on something that really would affect these people’s property instead of one based on a mother carrying two children to council and gaining sympathy because it’s a mother with two children as opposed to one where the property values necessarily will be affected.”
Council Members Judy Blankenship and Nancy Byrge spoke in favor of the ordinance. Council Member Glenn Otto said , “For me, it’s just a matter of respecting an individual’s property rights.”
After closing the hearing, council agreed to move the ordinance to a second reading.
Council also passed to second reading an ordinance that sets rules for the use of accessory buildings that commonly are called “Pods.” The ordinance includes limits on size, location and length of use.
Also Monday night, council:
- Heard Falkowski remind residents of upcoming events: the Community Garage Sale this weekend; Trick or Treat night on Oct. 31; and the start of leaf collection on Nov. 6.
- Approved 8-0 an ordinance that refinances notes totaling $3,685,000 into 25-year bonds. The notes were issued for Carriage Trails infrastructure work.
- Approved 8-0 the refinancing of bonds issued in 2008 for Carriage Trails infrastructure work. Falkowski said the new bonds will take advantage of lower interest rates and should save the city approximately $750,000.
- Approved 8-0 a resolution that allows the city to join a coalition of cities opposing changes in state law that would give more control of local taxes to the state.
- Passed on to second reading a resolution for a five-year capital improvement plan after McMasters and Byrge questioned some of the figures in the plan and asked for more detailed information on how the plan was compiled.
- Approved applying for a federal grant through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission for funds for Phase IV of the Chambersburg Road improvements project.
- Passed to second reading a resolution that would allow Service Line Warranties of America to use the city’s logo on an advertisement offering warranty plans for water and sewer lines after Otto questioned whether residents would see use of the logo as an endorsement of the service. Council will discuss that issue at the next work session.
- Heard Shaw explain that a medical marijuana proposal for the city that includes changes asked for by some council members will be ready for discussion at the next work session.
Council’s next meeting will be Oct. 23, 7 p.m., at city hall. The next council work session will be Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 on on Twitter @HH_Courier.