Fracking claims fly at BG meeting PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 10:32
At-Large Bowling Green City Council Member Bruce Jeffers Monday night read a statement opposing the proposed Community Bill of Rights charter amendment and later drew criticism from a proponent of the amendment.
The proponent, Leslie Harper of Grand Rapids, also read a letter from Terry Lodge, the sponsoring group's Toledo attorney, demanding that the city retract BG Director of Utility Brian O'Connell's statements indicating residents face large utility rate increases if voters approve the amendment Nov. 5.
Jeffers said he was unhappy that the charter sponsors had not first approached city council with their proposal. "It has not been proven to me that this (charter) approach will be effective," he said.
Jeffers said the city has demonstrated "a focus on developing renewable sources of energy" and will be about one-third sustainable in 2015. "The ordinance we passed makes sense. The charter amendment does not."
Harper said the group of which she is a part attempted to hand-deliver a copy of its proposal to the city administration June 4 "but we were rejected and left."
"We did send a certified copy June 5 and we do have the receipt for that," she said.
"Protect Bowling Green has always wanted to be public and transparent about what we wanted to do. I'm a little bit feeling we're being made out to be something very bad. We wanted to build a relationship and trust," she said.
Harper then read Lodge's letter objecting to what Lodge termed "legal advice" being give by O'Connell. "We would like a formal retraction."
Lodge's letter went on to explain that the charter amendment contains "aspirational language"  and also labeled the city's concerns as "nonsense." Lodge said Bowling Green is a municipal corporation and the definition is different than a private corporation. He concluded that city utility customers would "not see a single penny of increase."
Harper said the group will continue its Tuesday night "expert series" through October, starting at 7 p.m. at Happy Badger. She said the group is attempting to educate the community and expressed disappointment "that no city officials have attended the 'expert events.'"
Eberly Avenue resident Don Smith took issue with the city's statements on utility rate increases. "I feel like we are hearing a lot of propaganda," Smith said.
Mayor Richard Edwards said the city would have to spend $2.75 million in additional power costs per month, which would show up on customer bills.
North Main Street resident Jennifer Karches said she was upset about a "secret" brochure she had seen on the website of the BG Community Development Foundation that she suspects will be sent to Bowling Green residents.  "What public resources are being used for this?" She said the anti-amendment effort is a "total betrayal of the public trust" and asked why Marsh had not written the O'Connell document.
Edwards also told council there will be a 9:30 a.m. Wednesday press conference to announce the formation of a coalition of citizens interested in preserving Bowling Green's charter. The event will be held at the Wood County Senior Center, 305 N. Main St.

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