Leetonia offered gas aggregation plan

LEETONIA- Village Council is being presented the option of joining a natural gas aggregate that would save residents money on their gas bills.

Brenda Fargo, manager of the gas program for the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, told council Wednesday the program, which has to be approved by general election, will provide fixed rates every three or four months. She said residents can opt out at any time at no cost. An accurate estimate of savings will not be available until closer to an election, she said.

Similar to the electric aggregate approved by voters in 2011, the issue will have to be placed on an election ballot. If the issue is approved, two public hearings must be held to inform residents of the program, Fargo said.

The deadline for submitting issues for the November ballot is Aug. 6. NOPEC would cover the cost of placing the issue on the ballot and would handle the accreditation paperwork in subsequent years.

Fargo said the currently there are no grants for municipalities that join the program, but noted that NOPEC has the capability to ensure member governments are getting available rebates for energy projects. Savings will be seen on approximately half the bill, she said.

Fargo noted that Center and Hanover townships have already opted to place the issue on the November ballot, while Salem Township is waiting to see what the village will do. Fairfield Township is already a member, she said.

Council will meet at 6 p.m. prior to the next council meeting June 18 to discuss the program.

In other news council approved the purchase of five plastic folding tables for the EMS department to replace old wooden ones prior to hosting training. Director Kevin Cibula said the department is hosting a first responders class this fall, with several retirees signed up, which will help with response to daytime calls.

Council also discussed the possible purchase of the Day property on Columbia Street across from the Dairy Queen as a future location of a marquee sign, but Village Solicitor Walter Newton warned council to check into the property closely as it likely has a great deal of back taxes.

Also, Councilwoman Sue Buchanan addressed zoning concerns regarding a proposed group home at the former Presbyterian church at High and Elm streets. She noted that the village’s zoning ordinance stipulates a variety of parking regulations in reference to both boarding houses and nursing homes that the building’s owner does not appear to be meeting, with no discernible parking area and no borders on what would be the parking lot as stipulated for residential zones. Newton said he would meet with Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz to discuss the issue.