Land bank, energy costs discussed by New Paris

By Kelsey Kimbler -

NEW PARIS — At a previous New Paris Council meeting, Mary Bullen with the HIT Foundation requested council’s support in establishing a land bank. During a meeting on Monday, April 3, Mayor Rick VanWinkle supplied the Council with a letter he and council member Mary Jane Thomas had prepared. The letter affirms the council’s support of a Preble County land bank.

The letter will be sent to the Preble County Commissioners and Bullen.

John Bell with Integrity Energy attended the meeting to bring council a quote for the village’s single phase and three phase meters. Bell has been a resident of Preble County for the past 17 years and said that he felt the village should have someone from the county representing their energy and gas needs. Integrity Energy is one of the largest independent brokers in the U.S. They find whole sale pricing from suppliers for their customers. Once they get the pricing, they have a marginal markup and the customer will enter into an agreement with one of the suppliers for up to five years.

Bell had the opportunity to review the village’s current bills to see if Integrity Energy would save the village any money. Bell reported New Paris’ previous rate was 5.98 cents per kilowatt on their three phase meters. On the single phase meters, the village was being charged 6.87 cents per kilowatt.

Bell continued, “To put that in perspective for you guys, and why I believe it’s important for you guys to have somebody from the community as a rep on your behalf, is at the time when these rates went into effect, the wholesale market was 4.6 cents. Right now, the wholesale market is 5.4 cents. The rates that I’m offering to you now are cheaper than the rates that you had on the last cycle.”

The village’s current contract for commercial energy comes up for renewal in May. According to Bell, in order to switch over to Integrity Energy and not get stuck with an additional fee, the village could have to come to a decision by late April. The village’s residential contract has not yet come up for renewal, but Mayor VanWinkle expressed his interest in checking into a similar deal but for residential energy when it is time for that renewal.

The village resolved to discuss and investigate the issue and possibly hold a special meeting at the end of the month to make their decision.

In the month of March, New Paris Police Department handled 126 calls for service, 26 reports, three arrests, issued 16 citations, and gave 25 warnings.

VanWinkle reported having a phone call from a resident near the old school requesting the use of a truckful of dirt. There was dirt put up by the old school in the hopes of eventually covering it up, but as of now it is just sitting there. Council discussed the issue and ruled the dirt is to not be used by public. Council hopes to eventually use the dirt.

Mayor VanWinkle also read a letter from the Land and Water Conservation Fund indicating their grant application had been rejected. “In other words, we did not get the money to tear the building down. I have to call Susan tomorrow. She had not received the letter, she didn’t know anything about it. She said she was going to look into what happened. That is all I can tell you at this point,” he added.

The next New Paris Village Council meeting will be on May 1, at 7 p.m. in the village building.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH