Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Consultant wants another chance to convince voters

By Michelle Dupler
Staff Writer

An energy consultant told Franklin Township trustees he wanted another crack at convincing voters to participate in an electricity and natural gas discount program.

Scott BelCastro of Trebel LLC made an unexpected appearance at the Nov. 21 meeting, where he shared his surprise over the Nov. 5 election results.
“I was quite shocked,” he said.

Electrical aggregation failed by 53 percent and natural gas aggregation failed by 54 percent, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections.
BelCastro said he wanted to try again in May with a different approach in informing residents how they would benefit from the discount programs.

Aggregation could have allowed residents to pool together to negotiate lower rates with utility providers, according to township officials. BelCastro said aggregation could have offered guaranteed savings on residents’ utility bills.
“My recommendation is to put it back out there,” he said.

Trustees took no action at the Nov. 21 meeting. They would have to vote to put the measure back on the ballot in the May election.

One concern was the possible township costs of another election. Trustee chair Tim Guyton said with a gubernatorial primary in May, there should be enough on that ballot to dilute the share of costs the township would have to pay.

Casino agreement update

Guyton also said the township is still waiting for city of Columbus officials to sign a 50-year deal to share tax revenues from the Hollywood Casino with the township. The land where the casino sits was annexed by the city just before the casino was built.

The annexation agreement between the township and city is expected to bring an additional $750,000 per year to the township’s general fund.

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