Carey electric rates spark discussion

CAREY – In what is sure to a put a charge into residents, Carey Village Council is looking into raising electrical rates in the near future.

Council heard Monday night from Courtney & Associates, a public utilities consulting firm. The firm presented a four-year outlook that showed the village falling short about 7 percent in what the village is bringing in versus what it is paying out.

Council voted 5-1 to have Village Administrator Roy Johnson draw up an ordinance to at least recoup the kilowatt hour tax the village is paying but not pass it on to consumers. Councilman Mike Blair voted against it.

Johnson said the kilowatt hour tax would mean about a 5 percent increase in the bill for residential customers. Courtney & Associates will begin the process of doing overall rate redesign that will determine the final rate adjustments for the four classes of electrical users in the village – residential, commercial, small power and large power.

The village went 17 hours without power last Wednesday into Thursday courtesy of bad weather that tore through the area. Johnson said downed transmission lines caused the outage.

Last week’s rain storms that caused flooding in downtown Carey and forced the closure of downtown streets for a day meant all hands on deck for the fire department, police and public works. Johnson said no costs were estimated on the additional man-hours needed to help in the matter.

The recent flooding revealed a potential problem with a damaged headwall on Spring Run at West and West South streets. The problem is going to be looked into further and estimates gathered before any work is done.

One thing that may have aided the downtown flooding is improved storm sewers, which the village was already looking into. Council approved applying for $407,500 in grants and low-interest loans from the Ohio Public Commission or the Small Government Commission to complete phase I of a storm sewer project from the Patterson Street bridge to behind the Senior Depot, at 200 E. Findlay St.

There will be more water flowing through the streets of Carey in the coming weeks as hydrants are being flushed around town through July 26. Residents are encouraged to avoid doing laundry if water looks rusty or clouded.

The village will be seeing 20 jobs washing away in the coming months. Anderson’s, which was formerly known as New Eezy Gro, is consolidating its Sycamore and Carey plants into a single larger facility in Upper Sandusky at the former Tower Automotive plant. The village will lose about 1 percent of the 1.5 percent in payroll taxes for Carey residents. It equates to about $12,000 a year.

The village also is losing a police officer as Michael Diem announced his resignation, effective July 30. Police chief Dan Walter said he has begun interviewing the part-time officers to replace Diem’s full-time spot and also started interviewing outside candidates for the part -ime role.

Council approved, by a 5-1 vote with councilman John Green dissenting, to create an ordinance to increase the parking fine from $3 to $5 downtown. The fine would double if not paid within 24 hours. Green said he felt the village had enough other pressing issues than to worry about parking fines. Members also want the police department to enforce the state ordinance of a $250 fine for illegally parking in a handicapped spot.

The department is looking for a crossing guard for the school year. The job is two hours a day during school days and pays $9.65 an hour.

Retiring clerk-treasurer Toni Ahlberg has her replacement tabbed. Nikki Coppler was hired part time as an account clerk and she’ll move to full time when Ahlberg retires later this year.