Grove City Council has put the brakes on a proposal to establish a grant program that would help residents pay to install electric-vehicle charging stations at their homes.
The legislation, sponsored by Councilman Ted Berry, would have used $25,000 from the city's general fund to create the grant program.
The proposed grant amounts were $500 to residents installing charging stations at their homes and up to $1,000 for those at condominium and apartment complexes.
Council members Jeff Davis, Christine Houk and Steve Robinette voted against the ordinance at council's Jan. 22 meeting. Berry and Councilman Roby Schottke voted in favor.
A second reading and vote on the legislation had originally been scheduled for Dec. 3, but was postponed at that meeting.
Voting against Berry's proposal is not "a vote on renewables or electric cars," Davis said. "I don't doubt the significance of the challenge with respect to climate and the environment and renewable energy."
The issue is whether a proposal to give money to individuals after they purchase an electric car is the best way for the city to respond to the issue of green energy and renewables, he said.
"If we wanted to address that, and be a community that symbolically and practically addresses that, there (may) be some other ways that would make more sense than giving Grove City tax dollars to individuals," Davis said.
A better option would be installing electric vehicle charging stations in public places, which could have economic as well as environmental effects, Robinette said.
People pulling up to a public charging station might eat at a local restaurant or shop at a store while their vehicle charges, he said.
Schottke said he was a bit conflicted about the issue.
The charging station grant program would be comparable to other initiatives the city established by providing seed money, such as the Higher Education Investment Program, he said.
The higher education program provides tuition grants to residents attending college or trade school who agree to remain in Grove City after they graduate.
But installing charging stations in public places would make them accessible to more people, Schottke said.
The charging station program would encourage residents "to take the next step" and consider purchasing electric cars, he said.
Everyone on council agrees the city should be out in front in promoting green energy alternatives, Houk said.
"When you're authorizing $25,000, you should feel good that you have made an impactful decision on how to spend that $25,000," she said.
The city should have more discussion and planning to determine if there are other options for encouraging energy alternatives, Houk said.
"We could always say we want more conversation and I'm all for that," Berry said.
Too often, further discussion becomes a delaying technique, he said.
"I'm out on the road every day. The environment is changing," Berry said. "The combustion engine is hurting our environment and ... we need to do something about it."
His proposal was to create a pilot program to see whether residents would make use of the grant opportunity and be encouraged to consider buying an electric car, he said.
One of the biggest barriers to people buying electric cars is the inconvenience, Berry said.
"They don't want to have to go to the library to charge their car," he said. "They want to come home."
Berry said he would hold his colleagues to their word that they want to have further discussion about the green-energy issue and how Grove City should respond to it.
He said he would bring some other ideas to council's annual retreat, which was scheduled Jan. 26.