Petitions could land Community Choice Fund on November ballot

By Scott Mahoney -

The great rebate debate isn’t over, after all.

Oberlin city council has established a “Community Choice Fund” where electric customers can make tax deductible donations, a move precipitated by the debate over how to handle Renewable Energy Credit revenues.

Now a group of former Oberlin city council members, business owners, and other residents aim to put the ordinance on hold until November and give voters a chance to have their say at the ballot box.

Two petitions are being circulated in response to the contentious issue, according to John Elder of Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy.

The first would place the Community Choice Fund ordinance on the ballot, while the other would change the wording of the Sustainable Reserve Program ordinance, passed by council in May 2007, to clarify how green power credit revenues are set aside.

Semantics have caused differing views on how much revenue is supposed to go into the reserve program fund.

A similar petition was circulated last year to get the issue on the November 2016 ballot, but there was an error in the filing of the paperwork, preventing it from landing before voters.

Both petitions need around 300 signatures, according to Elder. Organizers hope to get more than 400 so there’s no question on the number of valid signatures.

Elder said about 15 people are working to gather signatures.

“I’m sure people will see signature gatherers downtown at Slow Train, the farmers market, here at Kendal, and wherever people are traveling about,” he said.

The ordinance establishing the Community Choice Fund is set to go into effect on March 23, so the group needs to collect the signatures prior to that date.

Elder said the signature gatherers need to have petitions handed in by March 21.

Scott Mahoney can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @sm_mahoney on Twitter.

By Scott Mahoney