Recount confirms loss for aggregation


By Michelle Dupler
Staff Writer

A ballot measure that would have allowed Franklin Township residents to pool together to negotiate discounts on natural gas service failed by just three votes after a mandatory recount.

Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections, said the measure failed 431 to 428 votes.

That was the same vote count certified on May 22, which triggered an automatic recount because there was less than one-half of a percent difference between the no votes and yes votes, Piscitelli said.

Ohio law mandates a recount within 10 days of the initial vote certification when a vote is that close.

Piscitelli said the process for a recount is to randomly choose enough precincts to represent 5 percent of the total votes. If the totals from those precincts match, the recount ends.

In the case of the Franklin Township natural gas aggregation question, there was no variation between the May 6 vote and the precincts pulled for recount.

If there had been any difference, all votes cast on the ballot measure would have been recounted on voting machines, Piscitelli said.

The vote on natural gas aggregation was recertified on June 2.

If the ballot measure had passed, it would have allowed Franklin Township residents to act as a single buying group for negotiating natural gas rates in a program known as aggregation.

Scott BelCastro of Trebel LLC would have represented residents in negotiations to secure the discount, which would have been a percentage off the rates charged by Columbia Gas. BelCastro has negotiated discounts for several other townships in Central Ohio.

A companion ballot measure for electric aggregation failed by 10 votes on May 6. That result did not trigger a recount.

Electric and natural gas aggregation ballot measures also failed last November.

Don Cook, chairman of the Franklin Township Board of Trustees, told the Messenger after the May 6 election that he did not foresee the trustees sending aggregation to the ballot a third time.


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