Petition rejected, efforts continue

To the editor:

Together with other members of the committee that filed the petition to place on the November ballot an amended Sustainable Reserve Program ordinance, we are disappointed that the Lorain County Board of Elections has rejected the petition.

The reason for the rejection is that not all 13 copies of the petition were submitted with their signature pages attached. Trivial as this reason may seem, it suffices to keep from the voters of Oberlin a definitive way of showing they want the city of Oberlin to fulfill the commitment council made in 2007 by establishing the Sustainable Reserve Program. That commitment was to use all the income from the renewable energy credits to fulfill the goals of “1) Energy Efficiency, 2) Energy Conservation, 3) Green-House Gas Reductions, and 4) Development of future renewable-generation projects.”

Although we could take legal action to try to overrule the decision by the board of elections, we have decided instead to put our energy and resources into making sure that the city institutes an effective program by which rate-payers can contribute their RECs-related rate reduction dollars to purposes relating to the Climate Action Plan. We urge council to provide ample opportunity for the public to have input into the formulation of such a program. We hope council will consider the approach contained in our amended ordinance:

1) Set up a Sustainable Community Improvement Fund.

2) Encourage donations by utility customers and other sources to the SCIF.

3) Remit the money to a nonprofit, such as the Oberlin Community Services, to be used in the SCIF.

4) Have SCIF complement the Sustainable Reserve Program to implement the Climate Action Plan including maintenance such as roof repairs, wiring upgrades, window replacements, and basement waterproofing.

We are encouraged by the vote by council last Monday to have city staff begin the process that could lead to the formation of a SCIF and we look forward to working with council on this process.

We thank the 418 Oberlin residents who signed our petitions and we hope they will join us in our effort to make our city equitable and green!

Elizabeth Meadows

Charles Peterson