By Andrea Cordle
Should the city contribute funds for residents to keep electric vehicle charging stations in their garages? That was the question city leaders could not agree on.
At the Dec. 3 meeting, Grove City Council postponed legislation that would appropriate $25,000 from the general fund for the electric vehicle charging station grant program.
The goal of the program is to encourage more residents to drive electric vehicles and create a greener environment in the city.
“We are trying to remove a barrier to start a new habit,” said councilman Ted Berry.
Berry, who drives an electric vehicle, said the cars require no gas, release no tailpipe emissions and cost less money to drive and operate. The only drawback 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 at the home,” said Berry.
When the grant program was first introduced in October, it included funding for businesses to install the charging stations as well as the individual. Council amended the legislation to only include individuals. Council dropped the commercial aspect from the program because business owners already have incentives through other entities, like American Electric Power.
According to the legislation, residents could be reimbursed at a rate of $500 for the approved installation of a charging station. A maximum of $4,000 per multi-family location would be granted for any one parcel.
If approved, Grove City would be the first in Ohio to offer such a program.
“This would put Grove City on the map for clean fuels,” said Berry.
Councilman Roby Schottke supports the program and said it could go even further in promoting a positive environmental impact. He suggested subsidizing funds for residents to install solar panels.
“This is a very positive step,” said Schottke.
The other council members were not quite on board.
Christine Houk said she is not convinced that using public money for something that sits in someone’s garage is a good idea.
“We can make a better choice for $25,000,” said Houk.
Councilman Jeff Davis questioned if this was a role government should play.
“What should we do with taxpayer dollars,” he asked.
Berry said this program was no different than other city programs, like the Town Center grant program where the city gives grant money to business owners to make repairs on their property.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said it is no different than what the city spends on the annual Eco Fest event.
“Grove City is willing to bet money that we can and will make a difference,” said Stage.
Linda Rosine, the environmental coordinator with the city of Grove City spoke at the meeting in favor of the program.
Rosine said Grove City is part of a Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) plan to address regional issues affecting environmental sustainability and quality of life such as air quality, energy, local food, water resources, trails, growth and planning.
Rosine said this charging station grant program would help address the energy piece of the plan.
“I am encouraged with this legislation,” said Rosine.
Council voted to postpone their vote until the Dec. 17 meeting.