COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Voters in Columbus will decide on a single ballot in next week’s election, but officials say it’s a big deal.
Number 7 says it would spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in clean energy and energy efficiency funds.
“The great thing I’m trying to get people to understand is that number 7 would put the city in a really, really tough position,” said Columbus city councilor Rob Dorans.
There is a lot of vocal opposition to number 7 coming from Columbus City Hall. However, the people behind Number 7, the people who did the work to get it to vote in the first place – ProEnergy Ohio – aren’t saying much. The ballot lists seven people as petitioners: Christina L. Gonzaga, Tyrone Spence, Udell Hollins, Dolores A. Williams, Irene Gil Llamas and Jabarisidiki Gregg.
If passed by voters, the initiative would cost $ 10 million to create an energy efficiency fund, $ 10 million for a clean energy education and training fund, $ 10 million for a clean energy development fund for minority businesses and $ 57 million for a Columbus Clean Energy partnership. Funds. The money – $ 87 million – would come from the city’s general fund.
“It would be an almost 10 percent reduction in our city’s finances,” Dorans said. “We would be talking about major cuts in municipal services, major cuts in our ability to, really, deliver the services that people rely on in our city. “
Dorans said a city’s clean energy program already existed after being approved by voters last year.
“The initiative of the poll gives the impression that it is the best thing since sliced bread,” he said. “These are a lot of buzzwords that a lot of people are making around clean energy, developing minority businesses, things the city is already doing in meaningful ways.”
When it comes to where exactly the money would go, there aren’t a lot of details. For two of the funds, the initiative indicates that the money would be available through an application process. He says the biggest fund, the $ 57 million, would be subsidies for electricity customers.
“Most people who have political initiatives that they want to see work in the city usually engage with the city council, usually engage with the mayor’s office, usually engage with people who want to see the city. doing better in a lot of these areas and really making our city a better place for everyone, ”said Dorans. “These people haven’t done that at all.”
NBC4 has tried to talk to the people behind number 7, but has yet to get in touch with them.
The measure, as it appears on the ballot, reads as follows:
- Establishes an Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Fund, the purpose of which is to promote and finance energy conservation and energy efficiency initiatives.
- Directs the transfer of $ 10,000,000 from the General Fund to the Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Fund mentioned above.
- Establishes a Clean Energy Education and Training Fund, the purpose of which is to promote and fund clean energy education and training initiatives.
- Directs the transfer of $ 10,000,000 from the general fund to the aforementioned Clean Energy Education and Training Fund.
- Establishes a clean energy development fund for minority businesses, the purpose of which is to promote, develop and finance minority clean energy businesses.
- Directs the transfer of $ 10,000,000 from the general fund to the aforementioned Minority Enterprise Clean Energy Development Fund.
- At the request of the Petitions Committee, demands the transfer of the $ 10,000,000 balance of the Minority Businesses Clean Energy Development Fund to an entity designated by a representative of the majority of petitioners Christina L. Gonzaga, Tyrone Spence, Udell Hollins, Dolores A Williams, Irene Gil Llamas and Jabarisidiki Gregg.
- Requires the above entity to distribute within one year the balance of $ 10,000,000 of funds transferred to said entity to “verifiable minority businesses” in the City of Columbus who request such funds.
- Establishes the Columbus Clean Energy Partnership Fund, the purpose of which is to reduce the cost of electricity for Columbus electricity customers through grants.
- Leads the transfer of $ 57,000,000 from the general fund to the established Columbus Clean Energy Partnership Fund.
- Demands the transfer of the balance of $ 57,000,000 from the Columbus Clean Energy Partnership Fund to an entity designated by a representative of the majority of petitioners Christina L. Gonzaga, Tyrone Spence, Udell Hollins, Dolores A. Williams, Irene Gil Llamas and Jabarisidiki Gregg .
- Require that the aforementioned entity distribute within one year the balance of $ 57,000,000 of funds transferred to said entity in the form of grants to electricity customers residing in the city of Columbus through an app.
- Directs the Director of the Department of Utilities to determine uniform monthly grants and to distribute said grants, and authorizes that an indefinite portion of the balance of the Columbus Clean Energy Partnership Fund be used for the cost of administering the distribution of such grants.
- Instructs the municipal auditor to publish a quarterly report on transparency and accountability on the use of funds established by this ordinance.
- Authorizes the municipal auditor to transfer any portion of the balance of the Energy Conservation and Efficiency Fund and / or the Clean Energy Education and Training Fund to any appropriate project account.
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