Electric aggregation considered

YORKVILLE -Village council kicked off an organizational meeting Tuesday evening by swearing in returning council members Dana Brown, Danny DiCenzo, Valerie Klubert, and Karen Vargo, along with Mayor Blair Closser. The council voted Karen Vargo as president.

Council passed two ordinances, one each for the Belmont and Jefferson County Boards of Elections, to include an electric aggregation program option on the May 6 primary election ballot. Electric aggregation programs have been put in place in a number of nearby communities, including Mingo Junction, Richmond, Scio, and Minerva. Council heard previously from a representative from World Energy, and learned that an electric aggregation program will save the average homeowner between $200 and $250 annually and help small businesses that use less than 700,000 kilowatts annually.

“I don’t see any negatives to it. It’s going to help all our homeowners and small businesses, and maybe bring some small businesses in if they know they can save on their utilities,” said Mayor Closser.

If the program passes in the election, naysayers will still have the ability to opt out with no fee for the first 21 days afterward.

The council discussed projects for 2014, including applying for a grant for the fire department to obtain new air packs and an undetermined vehicle. Kevin Klubert was approved as fire chief. Councilman Ron Emerson informed council that a catch basin was completed on the end of Martha St. Emerson said the project was not as extensive as anticipated, so materials were left over which could be used for similar endeavors in the future.

A first reading was held for an ordinance which will institute a public service fee of $5. Although a levy was passed in the last election, it was only for current expenses. Unforeseen government funding cutbacks at state and local levels have put financial strain on many communities including Yorkville, and a public service fee will help ease the burden. The next regular council meeting will be Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.

Warner may be reached at mwarner@timesleaderonline.com.