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Richfield Village Council approves aggregation program

2/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Richfield Village residents will have a natural gas price of $4.34 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) on their April bills, unless they opt out of an aggregation program approved by Council at its Feb. 4 meeting.

Council chose Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) over two other companies.

“NOPEC’s price was about a dollar below those of the other two presenters,” said Councilman Mike Wheeler.

Chuck Kuiper, the executive director of NOPEC, spoke at a public hearing before the Council meeting and said NOPEC represented 173 communities across 10 counties.

“Our goal is to have 70 [percent] to 75 percent of our gas coming from Ohio sources,” he said. “This would lead to significant savings in pipeline charges.”

Residents will be receiving opt-out forms in the mail. The $4.34 rate will appear on April gas bills unless customers send back the opt-out forms within 30 days, according to village officials.

Kuiper said the $4.34 rate will be locked in for 90 days. Fixing the price for a year will be too risky, he said.

In other business, Mayor Bobbie Beshara honored OEConnection and Ohio Realty Advisors for making Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Weatherhead 100 list of the fastest growing companies in Ohio.

“We are really proud that these companies are in Richfield,” Beshara said.

OE Connection began in Richfield in 2000 and has made the Weatherhead list six times, she said.  

“I’m glad to see this company mature into a great force in our town,” said Council President Rick Hudak.

Ohio Realty Advisors was founded in 2001 and has been in Richfield since 2012, according to village officials. It has made the Weatherhead list for the seventh time, according to village officials.

In legislative action, Council also approved the following:

√ a draft Solid Waste Management Plan for ReWorks;

√ the expense of $1,200 for Thorson Baker & Associates Inc. to perform a structural assessment of the Eastwood Preserve Historic Barn;

√ the declaration of three police cars as surplus property, so they can be traded in toward the purchase of new vehicles. The 2009 Ford Expedition and two 2010 Ford Crown Victorias will make way for three new Ford Taurus vehicles;

√ to cooperate with the Ohio Department of Transportation on the resurfacing of Interstate 77 in 2017; and

√ the purchase of a 2014 Transit Connect XLT wagon from Montrose Auto Group at a cost not to exceed $25,000.

In other news:

  • Police Chief Keith Morgan reported his department received an Ohio Criminal Justice Services Grant of $11,261 to replace the force’s aging radio equipment.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek reported his crew helped battle a fire after an oil well exploded in Boston Heights.
    He also advised residents to stay warm and call 9-1-1 if they suspect they are suffering from frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Service Director Melanie Baker stated she is looking into hot-air balloon companies that could provide a simulation of what a water tower would look like at a certain location.
  • Recreation Director Ruth Jocek reported on upcoming events. The free Health & Wellness Fair will be Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Masonic Hall, 3750 Grant St.
    She also said the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway and Project Pride Clean-Up Day will both take place April 26.
  • Council agreed to advertise for bids for a new fire pumper/rescue unit. It will carry 1,000 gallons of water, or twice the capacity of the current unit. The cost would be $560,000, according to village officials.
    Councilman Mike Wheeler said the city has set aside the money to cover the cost, with a surplus of $42,000 in the fund earmarked for the purchase.
    Mihalek thanked the members of the Fire Department who helped research the specifications for the new vehicle.

Council will hold a public hearing Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road. The topic will be a proposed farm placement for Don and Gail Shumaker at 3999 Brush Road.

The next Council meeting is set for Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

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