Utilities aggregation OK’d for ballot

By Sam Wildow - swildow@aimmedianetwork.com

COVINGTON — Covington residents will the get the opportunity to vote on whether the village enters into gas and electric aggregation programs during the November General Election. Covington Council approved submitting those options to the Miami County Board of Elections during the meeting Monday evening.

The council also approved entering into a consulting services agreement with Affordable Gas and Electric, who will help educate the public about these gas and electric aggregation programs. The goal of those programs is to save the residents money on their gas and electric bills. Village Administrator Mike Busse explained at previous meetings that, through these utilities aggregation programs, residents vote to negotiate bulk electricity rates. Once a rate is established, they can opt out.

During a meeting in March, Busse also stated that they attended a meeting with Affordable Gas and Electric to discuss the electric and gas aggregations. Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst also attended the meeting, explaining Sidney’s decision to choose Affordable Gas and Electric to manage their entire aggregation process. Busse stated that Sidney was given an electricity supply rate with a 25 percent discount to DP&L’s utility supply rate.

Also on the agenda, the council approved the purchase of an M2-106 Freightliner chassis from Stoops Freightline through the Ohio Department of Transportation purchasing program. The village will lease the chassis through TCF Financing at a cost of $86,352. The chassis will be used for the village’s trash program.

The council also heard the first reading of a resolution to purchase a 20-yard Leach Alpha III rear load packer from Best Equipment for the village’s newly purchased chassis. The rear-load packer would be purchased through the NJPA cooperative purchasing program at a cost of $82,407.40.

The council also approved the transfer of $190,000 from the general fund; $30,000 from the water fund; and $25,000 from the sewer funds to the debt service fund to cover the final payment for Walnut Street and the 2016 payments for Spring Street. They also approved the transfer of $10,000 from the general fund to the capitol fund for the Safe Routes to School project.

“Those are all budgeted transfers,” Busse said.

Later on in the meeting, the council held the first reading of an updated noise ordinance for the village. Busse explained that there are no major changes, but they updating some of the termonology, as some of it is not current. One example is that the current ordinance from 1978 references phonographs.

During Busse’s report, he explained that the village will be sending out income surveys to randomly selected village residents on Monday, May 2. Those who receive the income survey will only need to write down their address, state the total number of household members, and check a box next to the income range of the household. The residents will not have to include their names.

The residents will then return the surveys to Access Engineering in the postage-paid, self-addressed envelopes. This completed survey will help the village qualify for grant programs to help fund future village projects, Busse said. Village officials will only see the compiled data and will not see the individual surveys.

Also during the meeting, the council heard a quarterly emergency services update from the newly merged Covington Fire and Rescue in addition to the Covington Police Department.

On the fire side of Covington Fire and Rescue, they had approximately 572 man hours, responded to 42 calls with 13 of those as incidents in the village, and had an average response time of five minutes and 49 seconds.

On the rescue squad side, they had approximately 123 EMS calls with 77 of those calls in the village and 32 of those calls in Newberry Township. They also had an average response time of three minutes and 23 seconds, which included both the times of those on staff and volunteers.

Covington Fire and Rescue is also need of 10 radios plus accessories after the Miami County Commissioners approved replacing first responders’ radios countywide at a cost of about $1.6 million in December.

The Miami County Communication Center’s board of directors worked to create an equitable distribution formula. According to previous reports, the formula provided one one portable radio for every sworn law enforcement officer, two portables for each medic unit or ambulance; four portable radios per fire engine, ladder or rescue truck; one portable unit per tanker, grass or brush truck, or utility vehicle; as well as one mobile unit in all active police vehicles and fire apparatus.

Covington Fire and Rescue is responsible for the purchase of those extra radios and accessories as well as the installation of them, so they are in need of approximately $46,000.

By Sam Wildow


Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall