Do you want cake or crumbs?

To the editor:

Monday evening, city council will decide whether to offer you the cake or the crumbs. The crumbs: $7.41 off your monthly electric bill for a few years. The cake: whatever amount of Renewable Energy Credit dollars is needed to make your residence (owned or rented), your church, your business, your factory — whatever kind of building it is — more livable, functional, less costly to operate; and then another slice of cake every month thereafter: lower utility bills for electric, gas, water.

REC dollars are your money, my money, the communities money, but not our money because we were overcharged for electricity!

The REC money comes to us as the happy result of 15 years of policy decisions made by Oberlin’s city government, beginning with council’s sustainability resolution of 2001: “The concept of sustainability will guide city policy and actions.”

In accordance with the resolution’s guiding principles, the city, and American Municipal Power, after many months of negotiating and deal-making, secured two 15-year contracts to buy landfill gas electricity. Director Steve Dupee characterized those contracts “as a reliable, cost-competitive, environmentally-sound power resource.” Oberlin took dibs on the RECs that attach to green power. Dupee swapped the RECs, to Oberlin’s great monetary advantage, thus fulfilling the intended purpose of the contractual provision to keep the RECs; namely, to provide Oberlin with a formidable source of sustainable community investment income. Thanks to city government’s several crucial policy decisions of the past 15 years, we are rich. And can be richer! Now that we have lots of money, we have access to a lot more: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Weatherization Assistance Program has helped over 6.4 million families reduce their utility bills by an average of $349.00 annually.

But city government has not been preparing matching funds grant proposals to DOE or anyplace else! Instead, the majority of this city council seems hell-bent on repudiating the policies and the actions that have made this town green money rich.

I’m baffled! What possesses this administration and council’s majority to dump the policies that are doing so much good? Monday, let’s ask.

David E. Sonner