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Energy group tasked to reduce carbon footprint

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At their April 20 meeting, members of Village Council unanimously approved a resolution that establishes an energy task force for Yellow Springs.

The task force, or ETF, will be charged with working with Village staff to develop a strategic plan toward Council’s 2009 goal to “develop a comprehensive policy that addresses global warming and seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of our community.”

The energy task force is a continuation of the Electric System Task Force, or ESTF, a group of local volunteers that was charged by Council with investigating whether the Village needed to construct a new $3.5 million electric substation. That group, which met for more than a year, ultimately recommended that the substation was not needed. They also recommended that the Village budget $50,000 this year in order to make Village facilities more energy-efficient, a line item that Council included in the 2009 budget.

Former members of the ESTF will be asked to join the group, according to the resolution. According to Village Manager Mark Cundiff, former ESTF members Pat Murphy of Community Solutions, Reggie Stratton of The Antioch Company and electrical engineer Benji Maruyama have indicated interest in continuing.

At the meeting, Council Clerk Deborah Benning said the Village will also advertise for new members. ETF members should have expertise or experience in electrical systems or energy conservation, and the group should include representatives of major users, business, construction and environmental and conservation groups, the resolution states.

Kathryn Van der Heiden expressed her concern that the Village’s electricity co-operative, AMP-Ohio, be included as part of the process. AMP-Ohio is involved and has stated its availability if help is needed, Cundiff said.

In other Council business:

• In a report to Council, Village Solicitor John Chambers stated that three proposed changes to Village human relations ordinances appear to be legally sound. The Village Human Relations Commission, or HRC, had suggested that Council adopt the changes, which would set up a Village domestic registry, criminalize discrimination based on sexual orientation, and identify as hate crimes those that are based on a victim’s sexual orientation. Council did not take action on the proposed changes at this point. The proposals will be reviewed by Village staff and by the HRC and will then return to Council.

• After an executive session, Council agreed that Gary Stutzman of Stutzman’s Landscaping will have 90 days to work with Cundiff and Chambers to try to resolve financial issues that led to the Village threatening to terminate its lease with the business due to late rental payments.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that allows Cundiff to enter into a contract with an engineering firm for the design and construction of the Center for Business and Education.

• Council unanimously voted against a resolution that would have allowed Kenneth Struewing to tap into a Village water pipe on property he owns on the northwest corner of Spillan Road and East Hyde Road, which is outside Village limits. In a petition, Struewing had requested the use of Village water because his only source of water on the property, a well, may not be sufficient, and because a Village water pipe is already on the property.

Council members opposed the move after Village Solicitor John Chambers recommended that they do so. While Struewing’s request was a reasonable one, Chambers said, Council’s current policy is not to provide Village water to those who live outside Yellow Springs municipal limits. Doing so for one person could lead to others making a similar request, Chambers said.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that allows the Village to enter into an agreement with the Greene County engineer for a cooperative paving program.

• Rebecca Eschliman of the Yellow Springs Library Commission gave that group’s annual report.

• Len Kramer presented the annual report for the Village Mediation Program, or VMP.

• In executive session, Council also approved a resolution requesting that Antioch University make a good faith effort to not use the chiller near the Antioch College Student Union. Earlier during the public portion of the meeting, Antioch College neighbor Jerry Papania had requested that the power line to the chiller be disconnected due to years of noise violations in his neighborhood. According to Papania, he has spent at least $10,000 in legal fees trying to resolve the problem.

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