Villages working to cut back costs

YORKVILLE – Ohio Gov. John Kasich has made it a point to encourage local governments and school districts to work together to consolidate services and purchases to compensate for the state’s funding cuts.

The councils of Yorkville, Tiltonsville and Rayland have taken note and formed the YTR Coalition. The group’s goal is to consider ways to reduce costs, so that expenses from the funding cuts are not simply handed down to citizens. Shared services factor into local governments becoming more cost-effective, officials said.

The group meets at least once monthly, and so far has completed a line-painting project spanning the three villages. Throughout the winter, the villages have been able to share snow plowing equipment, salt and police cruisers, officials said.

The Coalition is considering the best approach to prepare the streets for spring and summer, while also looking for options for a unified water system, officials said.

The group met Monday at the Yorkville Municipal Building, with members representing all three village councils. One idea brought to the table concerned the villages’ fire departments and whether there might be a way to form a purchasing cooperative for equipment. It was decided the three fire chiefs and their assistant chiefs will be invited to the next meeting to discuss the idea.

The village leaders also want to see collaboration between the Neighborhood Watch programs. Yorkville’s next Neighborhood Watch meeting is set for 6 p.m. on March 24 at the fire department, and members of all three communities can attend.

The YTR Coalition will hold a townhall meeting at 7 p.m. on April 27 at Buckeye South Elementary School in Tiltonsville. The Coalition will be discussed in detail to outline goals, officials said.

One issue to be discussed is the electric aggregate option that will appear on the May 6 election ballot in all three villages. John Ney from World Energy will be at the meeting to offer information about the program.

If the program is approved in the primary, World Energy will help the villages become certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as government aggregators of electricity. With the newfound bargaining power, the local governments will be able to negotiate lower electric rates for homes and businesses. American Electric Power would continue to be the supplier, and electric aggregation participants would still receive one bill for services. It is estimated that participating residents could save $200-$250 per household, officials said.

The next YTR Coalition meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 14 in Rayland.