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Electric flashes irk people in Columbiana

September 19, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA -City officials are requesting residents call city hall when they experience a brief power outage at their homes.

Councilman Bryan Blakeman said Tuesday he has received numerous phone calls from residents saying their electricity "flashes" off and on several times a week, and sometimes more than once a day. The brief outages have happened at his Firestone Farms home as well.

"It's costly. I've never seen anything like it," he said.

He asked if the city could pursue a grant to purchase surge protectors, which City Manager Keith Chamberlin said he wasn't sure.

Chamberlin also said he wasn't sure what was causing the problem, but believed it could be a result of First Energy "switches" in the two main feeds coming into town.

"They do switches quite often. We have no control over that," he said.

Councilman Tom Ferguson said the electricity has flashed off and on at least once a week at his Village Court home.

Chamberlin said the city needs to know where the brief outages are occurring, so residents should call city hall at 330-482-2173 immediately after they happen.

Mayor David Spatholt said residents should also keep track of the time the outages occur and how long they last.

In other business, Councilman Bob Bieshelt asked council to weigh in on whether they should "jump on the wagon" like other communities requesting a slice of the casino tax revenue coming to county commissioners.

Commissioners received a portion of the taxes generated by the state's first ever casinos that opened in Cleveland and Toledo in May. Commissioners received a check for $94,000 in July, which represented about five weeks worth of tax collection. Municipalities requesting a share of the taxes are doing so as a result of cuts in state local government funding, which is also given first to commissioners.

Of the casino taxes, Bieshelt said, "It seems unrealistic to me that those funds were supposed to go to the 88 counties, 10 largest cities and the school districts, but left out villages and cities, like we are unaffected."

Councilmen James King and Lowell Schloneger said they should follow the lead and request a share of the money.

Chamberlin said he and Finance Director Mike Harold looked at the original ballot issue and Harold said he had asked county Auditor Nancy Milliken if it was possible for commissioners to share the money before others began making the requests, but she had advised it wasn't possible.

"She said there is no plans for it to be given to anything other than the county," Harold said.

Chamberlin said he would prepare a resolution for council's vote.



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