City Awaiting Solar Proposal

ST. MARYS — City officials are awaiting a proposal from a solar energy firm on the feasibility of adding a facility in St. Marys.

Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock revealed during Monday night’s city council meeting that officials from SolarVision, LLC are working on a proposal that would determine the feasibility of locating a facility in the city. The firm last month broke ground on a 5-megawatt project in the city of Celina that is expected to supply up to 8 percent of the city’s power. The firm also has a 3-megawatt contract with the city of Wapakoneta. Hitchcock released the details after resident Kumar Sivagnanam inquired as to if the city had explored a similar option.

“They approached us,” Hitchcock said. “They start with the county seats — Celina, Wapak and Van Wert because they are all county seats. That was their strategy in approaching counties. They approached us afterwards and we are waiting on a proposal from them.”

Hitchcock told The Evening Leader the meeting included an overview of what the firm could do.

“They came in and met with us and told us what they are doing,” Hitchcock said after the meeting. “We’ve only had one meeting with them and haven’t seen anything back from them.”

Hitchcock said he would like to see costs associated with the project, land prices and other details that he can bring to councilors.

“They didn’t really get specific with anything,” Hitchcock said. “When we get the proposal we’ll definitely bring it to council like we do every energy thing and we can go from there with discussion on it.”

Councilor-at-large Jim Harris announced plans to dedicate a historical walking trail on a tract of land the city purchased a few years ago. The land is near what is believed to be the initial site of St. Marys. The trail, located behind the bowling alley, was an improvement project the featured cooperation among the city, the St. Marys Rotary Club and Ryan Wendel — who helped as part of an Eagle Scout project.

“The work is done,” Harris said.

The trail will be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Various officials will be on hand to answer any questions regarding the project.

Hitchcock also commented on the impending arrival of a Tractor Supply Company store in the St. Marys Square.

“We are very excited TSC is coming to St. Marys,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve worked a long time with them to get them here.”

In other business, councilors:

• Approved the third and final reading of a resolution regarding the 2012 budget. The measure passed 5 to 1, with Councilor-at-large Pat McGowan casting the dissenting vote. Previously in the meeting, McGowan called into question the document because it lacked specifics.

• Approved the second reading of an ordinance regarding the inclusion of certain ordinances as part of the codified ordinances.

• Approved the second reading of an emergency ordinance regarding the collection of unpaid taxes.

• Approved the first reading of an emergency ordinance appropriating $12,570 for a police van as part of an insurance settlement. The van was struck by another vehicle during a traffic stop and was totaled.

• Approved a resolution of sympathy for the family of James D. Davis. Davis served as council president from 1978 to 1979 and served on council from 1974 to 1977. He also was a teacher and served as a representative in the Ohio House from the 81st district from 1985 to 1994.

“Jim did a lot for this community,” Council President Dan Hoelscher said.

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at the city building located along East Spring Street.