Look at law director’s letters


To the editor:

Each of the past two issues of the Oberlin News Tribune had a letter on disposition of RECs revenue as related to ballot Issues 16 and 17. Validity of divergent claims in these letters is found in two letters from city law director Jon Clark that responded to questions from City’s Public Utilities Commission.

Clark’s April 13, 2015, letter stated, “Based on the authority of the decision in Union Ice, I conclude that the city has no legal obligation to electric customers in the disposition of the REC revenue and council may, if it wishes, adopt the recommendation of the PUC.” Simply stated, RECs revenue does not belong to ratepayers but to the city.

Clark’s Sept. 18, 2015, letter on Ordinance No. 07-39 AC CMS stated, “…there has been no repeal or modification of Ordinance 07-39 AC CMS since its passage in May of 2007.” This is critical because if city council wanted to do something different with RECs revenue, the ordinance needed to be repealed or modified.

Ordinance 07-39 AC CMS explicitly directs the finance director “to establish a Sustainable Reserve Program Account for the city of Oberlin for the sole purpose of depositing the revenues resulting from the sale of ‘green power’ attributes, the monies so deposited to be utilized to fund a Sustainable Reserve Program.”

Despite this clear statement on where ‘green power’ revenue (RECs revenue) is to go, Clark’s Sept. 18, 2015 letter stated “…Ordinance No. 07-39 AC AMS contains no requirement that all REC sale proceeds be deposited into that account.” That is, in Clark’s assessment, “sole purpose” is not a “requirement that all REC sale proceeds be deposited into that account.”

Issue 16 clarifies that “sole purpose” means “all REC revenue” by changing ordinance to read “directing that all net proceeds derived from the sale and repurchase of green power attributes be deposited into the Sustainable Reserve Program account.”

If you want RECs revenue, the city’s money, to be compounded by investment to benefit Oberlin residents, then vote “Yes” Issue 16 and “No” Issue 17.

Carl McDaniel