BY BOB LOGAN
FRANKLIN GROVE — Following public hearings at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. the Franklin Grove Village Board voted to approve a 2-year aggregation plan and a contract with Verde Energy USA for electrical service at a rate of 4.65 cents per kilowatt hour for residential service and 4.875 cents for small commercial customers. The rates are projected to save residential customers 42 percent and small commercial customers 40 percent of the cost of electricity over the term of the contract when compared with projected Com Ed pricing.
Mike Mudge of Rock River Energy Services Company, the consultants the village used to negotiate their contract, said that if time changeover time schedules were met customers may see the new billing in place by the September billing cycle.
The village board was acting on the authority given them by voters in the March 20 general election to negotiate on behalf of village residents.ComEd customers with an annual usage of 15,000 kilowatts or less will automatically be included in the new rate schedule unless they choose to opt out and remain with ComEd. Customers who have a different electricity provider may participate in the new rate scheme by opting in, but are advised to contact their current provider to insure that transfer fees would not offset potential savings.
In other action the board approved the annual appropriations ordinance that sets the limits the village board can spend in all categories covered by the general fund. Total approved expenditures approved would amount to $684,265 if all approved limits were met in all areas. Actual expenses will be far lower as avail revenue will not approach the top limiting figure.
Of the total approved, Winifred Knox Memorial Library appropriations total $231,500. The village approves appropriations for the library based on projections provided by the library board which is a separate governing board from the village board.
Water and Sewer Committee Chairman Keith Roop reported that 179 low to moderate income surveys had been returned to Fehr Graham Engineering, the firm conducting the surveys for the village. The LMI Survey is a necessary requirement for application for and awarding of an emergency grant the village is seeking to repair a water main that runs under the railroad tracks at State Street. Residents not responding may be contacted by village personnel in an effort to meet the 75 percent participation requirement used to determine grant eligibility.
Ralph Tompkins reported that the street crack repairing on Elm Street is scheduled for July 17 or before if the contractor can fit it in to his schedule. The crack filling will inconvenience travelers for one day by restricting travel and parking privileges on streets that are being repaired. Tompkins cautioned board members that people should not drive on the filled cracks for a period of time after filling to allow the filler to cool and dry. He also said that curing would take a longer period of time and would require no parking for an even greater period of time because the sealer would adhere to tires and cause tire breakdown.
The recent severe storm prompted discussion concerning the early warning systems. Village officials had planned to include the installation of the early warning siren in the replacement of the pump house project for which a grant of $125,000 had been approved but has not been funded. The board is considering an alternative plan.
The board also discussed the drainage relief project to move water away from resident Carl Smith’s back yard that borders the alley between Elm and Spring streets running south from the tracks.
The board also approved sidewalk assistance to four downtown business district sidewalk projects totaling nearly $5,000 to repair sidewalks between the American Legion Hall and the grocery store and for repairs to the sidewalk in front of the P.H. Rooney Building just south of the grocery store parking lot. The sidewalk repair project includes filling in old coal storage bins under existing sidewalks. The village assistance includes only a stipend for the replacement concrete which the board increased to $3.75 per square foot in commercially zoned areas.