Water conservation discussed in Prairie Township

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Prairie Township residents were reminded of the importance of protecting their streams. At a recent board meeting, representatives from Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District presented helpful tips for the community to be more environmentally friendly.

“There are many simple steps you can take to protect our streams, including having rain gardens, ensuring fertilizer doesn’t get on the streets or sidewalks and making sure your leaves don’t fall in the gutters,” said Kurt Keljo, committee chair of the Franklin Soli and Water Conservation District. “

According to Keljo, when leaves fall into the gutters and get into the water, they put nutrients in the water that shouldn’t be there. Keljo also said residents can protect the water by ensuring plants and vegetation around the streams are protected as well.

“There is a reason we have a buffer around streams and it is important we protect these plants,” Keljo said.

Some of the things Keljo said township leadership can do to protect the waterways includes coordinating township cleanups, starting a rain garden, executing a public awareness campaign, ensuring there isn’t stormwater runoff in construction sites and maintaining township vehicles.

In other news, the board received an update on the electric aggregation program. The township’s existing program is expiring in February 2019 and the township has been discussing the bid process to find a new electric provider.

According to Scott Belcastro of Trebel, LLC, when the township bid on electric, the prices were higher than what he believes the township could receive.

“Our current rate is 5.65 and when we bid out we received five bids of between 5.189 and 5.5,” Belcastro said. “5.1 is a recent rate for a 33 month program, but I think we could do better. I think we could see rates of between 4.8 and 5.0”

With that in mind, the trustees agreed to allow Belcastro to wait until after the elections to rebid on the township’s electric aggregation program. Belcastro said he believes after the election, the township would see better rates and no decision needed to be made until later this year.

Township residents also voiced their concerns after a new flag was hung at the Prairie Township Community Center. Residents said they didn’t like the new flag that says “Love Prairie.”

“The idea of this was to create identify and community within the township,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “No one wanted to offend anyone with this flag and the community center has authority to hang it up.”

Prairie Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder added that the township takes meticulously care of all the flags in the township and would be happy to pass this off to residents if they want to take it over.

“During all national events, we take care of this flag,” Snyder said. “We lower it to half-staff, take it down and replace it when needed and do a variety of other things to care for the flags here. If someone else wants to take this over, they can by all means do it.”

According to residents, the biggest argument is that any flag besides the American flag should be hung on a separate flag pole that is shorter than the flag the American flag is on.

Township officials agreed to review this and get back with the community in the coming weeks.

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