Village Council reviews Yellow Springs’ energy contracts
- Published: May 16, 2022
In a continued effort to add renewable energy to the Village’s portfolio, Village Council heard a first reading at its most recent meeting Monday, May 2, on a measure that would allow Village Manager Josué Salmerón to continue negotiations on an energy contract with American Municipal Power, or AMP.
“It allows us to continue to be at the table,” Salmerón said.
Salmerón told Council members that the Village has held contracts with renewable energy provider Blue Creek Wind Farm, which provided the Village with wind energy. The Village now has the opportunity to acquire solar energy through Blue Creek as well, but must be a part of group negotiations through AMP.
“We, the [AMP] association, have been negotiating the purchase of 250 megawatts of production at that facility,” Salmerón said.
AMP members began the discussion of acquiring more solar energy through Blue Creek in December, he said. However, those discussions were halted due to supply chain issues.
The renewal of negotiations is coming at a time when two of the Village’s current energy contracts are due to expire.
Council member Marianne MacQueen said that she would like to know more about how AMP is helping to facilitate the Village’s move toward using more renewable energy, asking why AMP suggests that solar energy be 10% of the Village’s energy portfolio.
“The goal of AMP is to manage our purchasing cost as best as they can,” Salmerón said. “It’s a risk mitigation perspective.”
Council President Brian Housh said that he was in favor of pursuing more solar energy as part of the Village’s sustainability goals.
“I’m interested in hearing the strategy to become 100% renewable,” Housh said.
Salmerón said that the Village would need to invest in its own utility-grade installation, noting that he has spoken with AMP representatives about the prospects of an industrial grade project, and that an AMP representative would be present at a future meeting to answer Council’s questions.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the measure.
In other Village Council business, May 2:
• Village Council members heard second readings on three ordinances that would update language in several chapters of the Village’s codified ordinances to reflect the creation of the Village’s building department. Each of the three ordinances passed unanimously.
• Council members unanimously passed an ordinance updating the numbering standards for addresses within the village. Noting that this section has not been updated since 1987, Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels said that it made sense to add this procedure to the administrative code.
• Village Council passed an ordinance re-establishing the Human Relations Commission. The commission’s description comes with some minor changes, including verbiage that directs the commission to address prejudice within the village and to provide capacity by researching best practices for antiracism and equity activities. MacQueen praised the changes, saying that she appreciates the change to being ”proactive rather than reactive.”
• Council members passed a resolution allowing the Village manager to enter into a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation in order to reconstruct a multimodal path along Dayton Street between East Enon Road and Stafford Street. The path will include curb extensions, high visibility markings for street crossings, flashing beacons and upgraded signs.
Chief Paige Burge swore in Latoya Warren as chaplain for the police department. Burge praised Warren, saying she was “one of the helpers” and would serve the community well in times of crisis.
Housh swore in Werdell Kirk as a member of the Public Arts and Culture Commission. Council member Lisa Kreeger said Kirk has been working with the commission for some time prior to being nominated for membership, and has made “many contributions.”
Council members Carmen Brown and MacQueen nominated Amanda Hernandez for a seat on the Environmental Commission. Brown said that Hernandez, who currently works at Agraria, brings experience working in the food sovereignty movement.
“I’m excited that she’s interested and she cares,” Brown said.
Council member Kevin Stokes nominated Richard Zopf and Dorothy Smith to continue their roles on the Library Commission.
Salmerón gave a presentation to Council members detailing a plan to create a housing co-op for the residents of the Lawson Place apartments. This proposal comes after a series of updates to the building, including a new roof and upgrades to bathrooms, appliances and flooring in the units.
Salmerón’s proposal included a request for $30,000 to continue upgrades and pay for the cost of starting the co-op.
In response, Council members MacQueen, Housh and Stokes said they were hesitant to use the entire affordable housing fund for one project. They added that they would like to continue to vet the residents of Lawson place to make sure they were amenable to co-owning and managing the property.
Council members revisited a funding request from the Yellow Springs Pride organization. Kreeger and Salmerón said that the organizers of the annual event would be seeking funding from other sources, such as local banks, to help with costs. MacQueen suggested that Council determine a dollar amount to allocate to groups such as YS Pride who ask for sponsorship each year.
“I would like for us to agree to an expected contribution,” she said.
Council members unanimously approved donating $1,650 in sponsorship for the event.
In the manager’s report, Salmerón reported that the Village is accepting applications for the Village fiber pilot project. People living within an identified target area can fill out a form on the Village website and will be contacted regarding their wireless needs. So far, 100 people have registered; 50 of the applicants have addresses within the pilot area. Salmerón said that those who have already signed up should hear from the village within the coming weeks as to whether they are eligible to be a part of the pilot group.
Salmerón also added that there have been some small changes to the fee schedule. Previously, there were three speed tiers, with a lower-cost tier aimed at serving lower income residents. That has been changed to two speed tiers, allowing for lower income residents to choose their speed at a discounted rate.
Village Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 16.