As deadlines loom, Sunbury Village Council moved quickly last week to decide on contract renewals with energy and waste-management companies and to purchase a new storm siren.
Council met Feb. 5 to decide whether to renew a contract with energy aggregator Border Energy Inc. that will expire in March. At council's Jan. 22 meeting, members told broker and energy consultant Scott Belcastro that the village is interested in renewing the contract if the program stays the same for the next year
Belcastro negotiated with Border Energy and the company agreed to maintain the same rates and to allow an opt-out period with no termination fee. Council voted to extend its contract for at least another year with the company.
"Now people can feel good about joining in and there is no fee to get out of it if they chose to leave at a later date," Belcastro said.
Businesses and residents who opt in to the program receive a 15-percent discount rate. Since the program began, the village has had an aggregate savings of $499,608.
The village's contract with waste-removal company Rumpke also is set to expire in March. Council voted to renew its contract with Rumpke with the stipulation that rates remain the same. If the company cannot maintain its current rates, council will allow other companies to bid for the business.
Council members said they do not want prices to increase for residents, especially when they can allow companies to bid and possibly find a better price.
"I think there is some room to probably negotiate," said Mike Darling, a Rumpke representative. "Just candidly speaking, depending what you folks want to do, we want your business for another year."
Rumpke officials told the city on Feb. 6 that it would agree to not raise its rates, which currently are $15.19 per month for waste removal. That does not include recycling.
The company had been seeking a 2.5-percent increase, which would have raised the monthly charge to $15.57.
Council will make its final decision about renewing its contract with Rumpke at the next meeting.
Council members also voted to purchase a new storm siren prior to receiving any grant money. Council hopes to get the siren installed and running before the height of the storm season.
Since the new siren can take two months to install, council voted to spend up to $25,000 in advance for the equipment as officials continue to search for grant funding. Potential grant money would not be awarded until after the storm season.
"Regardless of the funding source, we don't want to be in storm season without a replacement situation," Mayor Tommy Hatfield said.
A new siren will sound at about 70 decibels and be heard within a 1.2-mile radius. It will be the second storm siren in the village.
Village Administrator Dave Martin emphasized the importance of ordering the new siren now and finding funds later.
"We will continue to pursue the grant routes as we go, but we need to get this ordered so they can get started manufacturing it," Martin said.
Also at last week's meeting, Village Engineer Wes Hall told council the village received an Ohio Public Works Commission grant. The village received a $149,000 grant and a $50,000 loan for sidewalk repairs on Vermont and Granville streets.
Hall must work with the zoning commission to narrow down official project details and a timeline.
The funding will be awarded July 1.
Sunbury Village Council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Feb 19 at Town Hall 9 E. Granville St.