Energy study nears completion

The final draft of a compressed natural gas study is expected to be available at the next North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments meeting, David Smith from Brewer-Garrett Co. said at the COG meeting Wednesday.

The study, funded by a Local Government Innovation Fund grant, allowed the council to complete a comprehensive analysis of the savings potential of converting school buses, city, county and private business vehicles to compressed natural gas.

Smith said the next step is meeting with partners individually to discuss the cost, savings and payback involved in the project.

He said he also would like to meet with Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services to get more private entities involved in the project.

North Central Ohio Educational Service Center Superintendent Jim Lahoski said the COG did not receive Straight A grant funding and would try again in the next round. He requested comments and scoring from the judges to revise the application.

NCORcog Director John Davoli also spoke about Ohio House Bill 336, which would promote compressed natural gas as an option for public and private entities and sets a reduced motor fuel tax rate for several years for compressed natural gas.

Although the council of governments does not advocate for policies, Davoli said he is to testify in favor of the bill as the COG is working on the compressed natural gas study.

The public hearing at Tiffin City Council regarding the Safe Routes to Schools grant has been moved to Feb. 3. The city could receive up to $500,000 if the grant is awarded.

Davoli said potential upgrades would not only improve the safety of students walking to elementary schools, but would increase the safety for all citizens walking in the city.

He also said the potential fiber optic project and the justice center study are moving forward.

In other business, the board approved an agreement for website maintenance services between NCORcog and Paul’s Market for an annual fee of $300 effective Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.

Transportation Coalition of North Central Ohio is to meet at 11 a.m. Jan. 31 at NCOESC. Ohio Department of Transportation is moving forward on a study on improving safety on SR 53.

The board is to meet at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 19.