Plan could bring electric savings to Mingo

MINGO JUNCTION – Village Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance putting the issue of electric aggregation on the May 7 primary ballot, which could result in monthly savings to residents.

Toronto residents approved a similar measure in November 2011.

John Ney, an energy consultant with World Energy, previously told council that municipalities can form aggregated buying groups to purchase electric generation on behalf of residents. If approved, Ney will negotiate the rates for residents and business.

Ney said residents and businesses can opt out of the program if approved by voters and enter into their own agreements with an electric service provider.

He said AEP will continue to be responsible for the delivery of power to homes and businesses and will continue to read meters and maintain poles and wires and restore power after an outage.

In other matters, council agreed to enter into a contract with Family and Community Services Inc. of Ravenna to operate the village’s senior center. Family and Community Services is willing to take over the building and operations of the senior center. Councilman Chuck Dickey said the village will provide the building and utilities for a brief period until the group can generate revenue and pay the utility bills and some rent to the village.

Dickey said the organization, which runs RSVP Inc. in Jefferson County, will have an office in the building and will continue to offer meals and other services to residents.

“They will have the responsibility to run it and generate revenue,” said Mayor Ron DiCarlo. “They have a lot of plans for the senior citizens in the village.”

Councilman Michael Herrick, who heads council’s recreation committee, announced new rates for using the swimming pool, the hall in the basement of the Municipal Building and renting shelters at Aracoma Park. The daily and season pool pass fees, renting of the hall in the Municipal Building and shelter rental at the park will remain the same for residents. Nonresident fees were increased, Herrick said.

Nonresident daily pool fees are free for children under age 3; $5 for ages 3-11; $7 for ages 12-17; and $9 for age 18 and over. The season pool pass fees for nonresidents are $200 for a family; $125, adults; $75, students; and $50, senior citizens. Resident family pool passes will be $80.

For the hall in the basement of the Municipal Building, residents will pay $100, and nonresidents will be charged $125. Herrick said $25 will be refunded if the hall is cleaned up after use.

Shelter house fees are $100, large shelter, residents, and $200, nonresidents; $75, small shelter, residents, and $175, nonresidents; and $50, bocci shelter, residents, and $125, nonresidents.

Herrick said officials anticipates there will be more nonresidents using the swimming pool during the summer with the closing of the Steubenville pool.

Councilman John Fabian said the village now has a $300,000 splash pad at the pool.

Council also agreed to enter into an agreement with Howard Armstrong, former Wellsburg city manager, to be the interim village administrator. Armstrong is doing the job without compensation. The agreement is for a six-month period.

Herrick and Dickey said they received a strong recommendation from Wellsburg officials about Armstrong’s abilities.

Armstrong said he is glad to offer his services to the village and apply his business and city manager experience to helping the village.

Herrick said the street light committee will have a final recommendation at the Jan. 22 council meeting on what street lights will be turned off as a cost savings.

Fabian announced officials will accept bids for village’s health insurance programs.

Councilman James Morrocco said he met with officials from FeX Group, a business in the south end of the village, about the mud coming onto the street from large trucks exiting the business.

The issue has been discussed for more than a year during council meetings.

Councilman John Bracone said the company’s officials last year said it was going to pave its access road to eliminate the problem of the mud.

Morrocco said the company is trying to rectify the problem.

Council also approved an ordinance charging residents $100 and nonresidents $150 for reconnecting water service to homes in the event the water is turned off for lack of payment.

Herrick also responded to a letter to the editor in Sunday’s Herald-Star from former Mayor John L. Lewis, who stated the village should dissolve and become part of Steubenville Township.

“I was greatly disappointed that he was quick to suggest that we dissolve Mingo Junction, becoming part of Steubenville Township,” Herrick said. “We as council, along with the Mingo Revitalization Committee, are not admitting defeat. We have been continually working to solidify possible pending cost-saving projects. Our job is not finished. We are not quitting. We will continue to explore all avenues to save our town and to serve the citizens of Mingo Junction.”

Lewis also suggested village elected officials return their salaries back to the village. DiCarlo announced at the meeting he was doing that but no member of council volunteered to do the same.

Fabian said the village is facing a fiscal emergency, but, with careful spending, should end 2013 in the black.

“We are in no danger of dissolving but the fiscal cliff is out there,” he said.