Perry trustees hear presentation on electric aggregation program

SALEM — Trustees heard a presentation by Lori Rader of First Energy Solutions about renewing the township’s community electric aggregation program at a rate just under the current price or 6 percent off residential and 4 percent off commercial for the utility price to compare.

Trustees took no action at this time, with Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston noting after Monday’s meeting that the township is being courted by four other companies for the new electric aggregation contract. The current contact, which is with First Energy Solutions, expires in the fall.

“We would be happy to serve you again and continue the relationship,” Rader said.

She explained that Perry Township is currently paying 4.90 cents per kilowatt hour with 6 percent off the price to compare for residential and 4 percent off for commercial customers. The average savings per year for township residents in the program is $40, with 1,430 customers participating (1,364 residential and 66 small commercial). Since the contract first began in 2010, that’s a savings of over $510,000 for the community with the program.

“They’re always going to save money in the program,” she said.

The offer for the new contract is a fixed price of 4.89 cents per kilowatt hour for 24 months or percentages off of 6 percent for residential and 4 percent for commercial off the price to compare.

Rader provided trustees with some figures for other townships, with Butler at 5.02 cents per kilowatt hour, Salem at 5.11 cents per kilowatt hour and several other townships at the percentage off of 6 percent and 4 percent.

She said the pricing she offered can be held for a month while trustees consider their options.

“I think it’s a really good price,” she said.

In other business, the trustees agreed to change their dental insurance carrier from Guardian to Lincoln at a 5 percent savings for the same coverage with the price locked in for the next 31 months. Trustees also approved the fire department spending $868 with Warren Fire Equipment to refill their air bottles and recalibrate the compressor and other yearly maintenance related to the air bottles and compressor. Trustees also agreed to a mutual aid deal with the Major Crimes Task Force in Columbiana County.

Trustee Chair Cliff Mix reported that he and township Road Supervisor Darreck Farrell attended the chip & seal meeting at the county engineer’s office in Lisbon earlier in the day and got a price list. He noted that the township has $73,000 in Issue 2 money for paving. No discussion took place about the paving.

Johnston issued a reminder to all department heads that any pay an employee receives for jury duty must be turned over to the township since the township pays employees their regular salary while on jury duty. A road employee recently served jury duty.

Johnston advised that she reviewed the state’s recommendations from the recent financial audit of the township finances, which was an issue Trustee Jim Armeni raised at the last meeting. She said she “didn’t see anything in there that’s going to escalate.”

She went through past audits, too, and noted that the one recommended change was for something she’s done the same way the past 20 years with no auditors ever raising an issue until this year. She addressed a recommendation regarding moving money from a CD and noted she had approval from the trustees and it was nothing she did on her own. Everything was documented and signed by trustees.

She said the auditors want monthly statements given to the trustees so she said that’s what they’ll be doing. Armeni said he thought quarterly was sufficient but if that’s what they want, that’s fine.

Johnston noted that she has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and she wouldn’t do the job without one. She’s never had a problem with an audit before and commented “I don’t think it was a bad audit. I don’t know why you’re so concerned about it.”

Armeni thanked her for looking into it and said because of his past work as Salem city auditor and with the state auditor’s office, the recommendations on the audit concerned him, noting it seemed like a lot. “I want to assure our residents that there’s really nothing out there, that’s my main concern,” Johnston said.

Township Resident Randy Stith, who lives off the bypass, said water was coming across the road and blowing out his driveway and he wanted to know who to talk to about the problem. He was advised the Ohio Department of Transportation since ODOT is responsible for the road.

He also asked where the other trustee was, referring to Trustee Don Rudibaugh, who wasn’t present for the meeting. Mix responded that he was in Florida.

“Isn’t he supposed to come to the meetings?” Stith said.

Mix said there’s no requirement regarding the meetings, with Stith making a comment about him getting paid. Mix and Armeni voted to excuse Rudibaugh from the meeting. Rudibaugh attended the last meeting, which was two weeks ago.

The next meeting is April 8.