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Walnut board hears progress

WALNUT—Walnut’s new Community Aggregation Electricity Program was reviewed by the village board at Monday’s meeting.

Village residents had agreed in March 2012 by referendum to enter into a Community Aggregation Program to provide an alternative to ComEd for the supplying of electricity to village residents. The new program went into effect in July 2012.

Mike Mudge of Rock River Energy Services Co., based in Oregon, Ill., manages the electricity program for the village and met with the village board at Monday’s meeting.

Mudge said Walnut was one of the first communities in Illinois to implement an aggregation program. Currently there are more than 600 cities, villages, townships and counties in the state that have passed referendums and have these programs.

At its inception, 500 customers in Walnut were transferred from ComEd to the new program, Mudge said. Currently, there are 458 customers participating in the community program. The idea of this program is to provide electricity at a lesser rate than the ComEd rate. The summer rate for ComEd was .06011 per kilowatt hour and the community program rate is .0484 KmH, he said.

Mudge reported the 458 subscribers to the program have averaged a savings of $321.24 each, or $154,690.58 total. He also reported the contract signed was initially a two-year commitment and he has been working on bids for a new contract for the village program and also for a new contract for the village itself for the electricity needed for the municipal water and sewer works.

Mudge also noted customers of the aggregation program do receive calls from other companies trying to get their business. He urged customers to be very careful with these callers as some of them are simply asking for the customer’s account number and then switching the customer to a new provider without the actual consent of the individual. He wanted to assure all customers if they have any questions about their electricity service to contact Rock River Energy at 815-732-4603.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board opened the sealed bid for the 25-foot extension to the Hansen property. This extension was added to the original property and the sale of this 25-foot extension was published separately. The village received a sealed bid from Ronald and Barb VonHolten in the amount of $700 for the purchase of this 25-foot extension. The VonHoltens were the successful bidders on the original Hansen tract. The board approved the sale of this additional property and passed the necessary ordinance approving this sale.

The board reviewed the work which is continuing on the water tower maintenance project. Some additional welding and some other issues have required additional work. Because of these items, the project will probably take a little longer. Also, the changing weather conditions may cause the project to be extended slightly. The tower exterior will be pressure-washed and cleaned. The board wanted to assure residents the surrounding fire departments have been contacted with regard to the amount of water the village currently has in storage. Those departments are available to be called upon if an emergency situation should occur.

Board member Aaron Staker reported the Community Improvement committees are continuing their work and requested the temporary committees be allowed to continue for six more months. The board agreed to this request. Staker also reported a community survey has been prepared and will be sent to all residents in the near future.

Board member Tom Stone led a discussion regarding the possible authorization of golf carts and ATVs to be driven on village streets. After discussion by all members, the board agreed this item would be put on the agenda for the Nov. 4 board meeting. At that time, the board will review the current ordinances for village traffic and additional discussion will be held.

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