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New Energy Board created

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At their July 6 meeting, Village Council members unanimously approved the establishment of a Village Energy Board, an ongoing citizen volunteer group with a charge to work with Village staff to help reduce the Village’s carbon footprint in a variety of ways.

The new board was created at the suggestion of the Energy Task Force, which had been created a year ago to explore options for energy conservation and renewable power generation. That group evolved from the Electric System Task Force, commissioned several years ago by Council to explore whether the Village needed a $3.5 million electric substation, as had been recommended by the previous Village manager. The task force concluded the new substation was not needed, but that the group should continue to work with Village staff to pursue conservation measures and explore renewable power options. The task force recommended that the Village set aside $50,000 yearly to pursue energy conservation measures in Village-owned facilities, and this year, at the advice of the task force, the funds will be used to purchase streetlights that are more environmentally friendly than those currently in use.

The Energy Task Force recommended that it now become the Energy Board because its work is ongoing, and not a short-term project. The new board will have nine members, including the six current members of the Energy Task Force, who are Pat Murphy, Jerry Papania, Reggie Stratton, Brian Strawn, Larry Gerthoffer and Terry Graham, with Judith Hempfling the Council representative.

The new board seeks two new members. At the July 6 meeting, Council member Karen Wintrow urged the Village to appoint members from the business community to the open seats.

Board members will serve three-year, staggered terms. The remaining two seats should be appointed before the end of the year, according to a memo from Village Manager Mark Cundiff.

While most Village-created citizen groups are called commissions, this group is called a board to avoid confusion with the already-created Environmental Commission, or EC, which focuses on broader issues of environmental sustainability, according to Cundiff. The Energy Board will focus on Village use of resources, along with exploring renewable energy options and conservation measures.

Sustainability issues relating to transportation will not be the charge of the group, Council members agreed. Currently, the Bicycle Enhancement Committee is working to make the village more bike-friendly.

In other Village business:

• Two Council members will meet with Carol Hooker of Wright State University’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs, or CUPA, who had submitted a proposal for a housing assessment for the Village, at Council’s request. However, the proposal seemed to “miss the mark” of what Council sought, according to Wintrow, so a face-to-face meeting seemed advisable to make Council’s request more clear.

Specifically, the CUPA proposal focused almost exclusively on affordable housing, with sections addressing housing discrimination. In contrast, the Village seeks a broader assessment of housing needs, Wintrow said.

Home, Inc. Executive Director Marianne MacQueen, who has urged Council to do the assessment, agreed, saying, “I think we want something more holistic that looks at the different types of housing we have now,” in the context of establishing a base line, then identifying “where we want to go from there, and making decisions about how to get there.”

Other Council members agreed that the proposal did not seem appropriate to the needs of the Village, and that a meeting would be advisable.

• Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance that eliminates angled parking on East North College Street between Xenia Avenue and Livermore Street, substituting parallel parking instead. Angled parking was appropriate when the block had a higher density of residents from an Antioch College dorm, but it is now less dense, and angled parking can be more dangerous, according to Police Chief John Grote, who requested the change.

The ordinance also increased the maximum consecutive hours that a vehicle can be parked on village streets from 48 to 72 hours, in line with what most municipalities require, Cundiff said.

• Council continued their discussion on a revision of Council rules and procedures, which they began at the previous meeting. Council member Lori Askeland and Council Clerk Judy Kintner will work together to incorporate several suggestions, then bring the document back to Council.

• Council members encouraged villagers to take part in the upcoming Yellow Springs Experience, which kicks off this Friday, July 9, and the Skate Fest, which takes place Sunday, July 11. The event aims to raise funds for the Village skate park, and includes an afternoon of live music.

• Council’s next meeting will take place Monday, July 19, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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