Green City Council Green City Council discusses electric charging stations

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

GREEN  The city of Green could be getting two electric vehicle charging stations in the coming year, although some Green City Council questioned the need for them at the Oct. 13 Green City Council meeting.

The discussion centered around a pending resolution for the city to apply for a Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund Grant program, part of an $11.25 million grant program administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to for “electrical charging infrastructure” throughout the state.

Service Director Valerie Wax-Carr said the city’s interest in the state grant program grew from an effort, in participation with the Living Green Task Force, to encourage the use of more electric vehicles in the city. While the two proposed charging stations would be located near city hall, should the city receive grant funding, Wax-Carr said the long-range goal would be to have charging stations closer to Interstate 77.

Councilman Richard Brandenburg asked if there were plans to begin the charging station project before the status of the grant is known. Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said the grant awards are supposed to be announced by the end of 2020 and the city “would not be ready to go” on the project before then, whether or not the grant money is awarded.

Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, however, said the city “probably would not” pursue the project at all without the grant funding. The mayor added that while plans to transition to some electric city vehicles have been discussed, no such vehicles have been purchased to date.

“We probably wouldn’t build a charging station until we had a car or two,” Neugebauer said.

He added that plans for how the city would charge for electricity at the charging stations will also have to be determined.

“We want to make it attractive to people to use, but we’re not going to give it away,” Neugebauer said.

Councilman Rocco Yeargin asked how much of a demand there is for electrical charging stations and how many such stations exist in the city now.

Neugebauer said he is aware of several charging stations on the Diebold property. Wax-Carr said that while it may not be immediately apparent, manufacturers are making more electric vehicles and there is a growing demand for them.

Council took no action on the Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund Grant legislation at the Oct. 13 meeting.

New dispatching agreement

Council members approved the formation of a council of governments for a shared fire/EMS and police dispatching partnership with the city of New Franklin.

Councilman Dave France said the agreement calls for the shared dispatching to continue out of Green Fire Station 1, with both Green and New Franklin staffs dispatching for both cities’ fire and EMS service, as well as for the New Franklin Police Department. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will continue police dispatching for the city of Green. The city of Green currently has dispatching contracts with the village of Lakemore and Coventry Township, France added.

He said the New Franklin partnership will be a long-term cost savings, particularly in equipment and maintenance, for both communities and is in line with a growing movement to regionalize safety services.

“Since you don’t have to have dispatchers dispersed throughout the city like police and firefighters, (dispatching) lends itself to this kind of consolidation,” France said.

Green Fire Dispatch Supervisor Leslie Hayman said she is excited for the new partnership and is looking forward to learning the police dispatching component.

Councilman Matt Shaughnessy asked if there will be adequate staffing to cover both fire and police dispatching.

Green Fire Chief Jeff Funai said that both cities currently staff two dispatchers 24 hours a day.

“(With the merged staffs) we think we will be able to have three on 24 hours,” Funai said. “Enough to cover and, we feel, enhance services.”

Neugebauer thanked New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson for his efforts to make the dispatching partnership a reality.

“He has been much more aggressive about getting this done than past administrations,” Neugebauer said.    

In other action, council:

• Approved Neugebauer’s appointment of Samer Awadallah, an engineer and 20-plus year Green resident, to fill the unexpired board of zoning appeals term of Joel Read, who recently resigned after moving to Stark County. The current term ends Dec. 31, 2021.

• Approved the appointment of Nichole Baldinger as Interim Clerk of Council. Baldinger will be replacing retiring council clerk Molly Kapeluck on a permanent basis in 2021.