Camden levies to go on ballot

By Kelsey Kimbler -

CAMDEN — The Village of Camden has taken the first step necessary to put recent tax levies back on the ballot. While the levies will be on the ballot in August, Camden is taking precautions just in case they again do not pass.

During a meeting on Thursday, July 6, Camden Council approved a resolution that works as the first step to put the levies back on the ballot, in case they do not pass in August.

“They’re going to pass in August though,” council member Ernest Crabtree joked.

Fiscal Officer Rebecca Wilson recommended council pass it as an emergency, and Crabtree made the motion to pass as one reading.

“Why I would say no to putting these on, is the whole idea of tax is that we would not need to do the levies again,” council member Melissa Shull explained.

“Even the police levy?” Council member Kelly Doran questioned.

“You said, when we did the tax, that we would not need to put the levies back on the ballot,” Shull said.

“You might want to clarify that. You’re talking about the income tax compared to these taxes,” Wilson added.

“Correct. The reason why we implemented the income tax was because we would not have to go to the citizens anymore and ask for the levies,” Shull said.

Doran asked Camden Police Chief Matt Spurlock how much it costs to operate the police division.

“Okay, so your income tax generated $284,000 and the police budget was $263,000. I’m telling you what the facts are right now. That’s $20,000 to operate the village,” Doran said. “The police had a levy that generates approximately $100,000 a year. You have to have that. As far as the general fund levy, it only generates around $75,000 — that’s operating money.”

The vote to approve the resolution passed, with Shull as the only council member voting no.

“So, that’s a nay to you guys back there, Police Department,” Doran said. “That’s a nay from this council member that she doesn’t want you to have the funding necessary to operate your police department and do your job. So there you go, that’s what you get right there.”

John Bell with Integrity Energy attended the meeting to discuss aggregation for the village. Integrity Energy is a power and energy supplier and one of the largest independent brokers in the U.S. They find wholesale 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 himself has been a resident of Preble County for the past 17 years and has been traveling to various council meetings to talk to them about a county aggregate. He explained that he specializes in aggregation. “Which,” he said, “is something the State of Ohio has made available to municipalities and groups like yourselves, on behalf of their residents. I’m presently 0n the agenda with the villages of Lewisburg and New Paris, I’m working on aggregation for them. I also have permission for feasibility for the village of Gratis as well.

“The way that works, is now that I work for a broker instead of a supplier, each day I get pricing from about 35 different electric and gas companies out there. It comes to me priced wholesale and I get to control the profit margins. To give you guys an example, a local village that I helped recently, when I came into their council chambers they were paying about 6.83 cents per kilowatt hour for their electric, they are now paying 5.89 per kilowatt hour for their electric.”

He explained that his “primary objective” was to introduce himself to the village council and to get permission to talk to the village administrator about aggregation. He wished to do a feasibility study on behalf of the village to see if he could get them a lower rate.

Council member Kelly Doran said, “I don’t see anything wrong with having him do his research.”

The council made a motion to allow Bell to receive the information he needs to run the feasibility study on the residents.

In other news:

•Council voted to allow a resident to put a fence back up, in order to protect her children from the street.

•A representative from RITA attended the meeting to give council advice on a recent motion they had approved to change the village income tax filing date.

•Council discussed a handicap parking spot for the town hall.

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