By Andrea Cordle
A pilot project to give a grant to residents for the use of an electric vehicle charging station has died in Grove City.
At the Jan. 22 meeting, Grove City Council voted against an ordinance to set aside $25,000 for the program with a 3-2 vote.
The overall goal of the program was to encourage residents to drive electric vehicles thereby creating a more environmentally sustainable community. According to the legislation, residents could have been reimbursed at a rate of $500 for the approved installation of a charging station. A maximum of $4,000 per multi-family location could have been granted for any one parcel.
Council members agreed that the city could do more to promote a green environment, but the majority said they just could not support using public dollars to fund something that sits in an individual’s garage.
“I am all for having a ‘green’ city,” said councilman Jeff Davis. “The future will get us to alternative fuels. There are other ways we can do that other than giving tax dollars to the individual.”
Council president Steven Robinette said he would rather see the charging stations in a public location, rather than in a resident’s garage. Councilwoman Christine Houk also voted against the measure.
Councilman Ted Berry is the owner of an electric vehicle and pushed for the charging station grant. He said the cars require no gas, release no tailpipe emissions and cost less money to drive and operate. The only downside is the convenience in charging the vehicle. According to Berry, it can take several hours to fully charge the vehicle and it can be difficult to do that in a public setting.
“The barrier is the convenience in owning an electric car,” said Berry. “We’re talking about breaking down barriers.”
Berry said he believes the program would have benefitted the city economically as well as environmentally.
“The way to attract economic development in the area is by investing in new technologies,” said the councilman.
Jon-Paul d’Aversa, an energy planner with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), agreed. He addressed council at the meeting to speak in favor of the proposal.
“The shift will be to electric vehicles in the future. This legislation signals to the market that you are ready for new technologies,” said d’Aversa.
MORPC encourages communities to participate in the reduction of energy consumption.
Resident Roger Burket spoke against the proposal saying electric car manufacturers or dealers can finance the charging stations for their customers.
“No tax dollars,” said Burket.
The council members who voted against the proposal said they were in favor of discussing methods of promoting ‘green’ efforts. Berry said this is an issue that cannot wait.
“Combustion engines are hurting our environment and darn it, we have to do something about it,” said Berry. “As a city, we have to be a leader.”