Citizens for Galion is actively trying to get the word out about a potential November ballot issue concerning the repayment of alleged overcharges in Galion resident’s electric bills from July 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2012.
The group announced plans to seek signatures for a issue calling for an independent firm to audit the city’s electric rates during that time.
Members sent a press release saying they would be at the Galion Car Museum from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. June 20 and 2-4 p.m. June 22 to explain the issue and collect signatures.
The city disagrees with the citizen’s group assessment, with Mayor Tom O’Leary saying he does not believe an overcharge occurred but if there is one, the electric rates are charged per kilowatt hour of usage which means larger users of electricity would get larger refunds than residential customers.
In addition, the mayor said council and its Utilities Committee have cleaned up past electric account mismanagement, including a proposed change in electric rates, which passed first reading at the city’s last council meeting and the third reading of an ordinance changing the current PCA (Power Cost Adjuster) to zero.
However, the citizen’s group says they are hearing that the public wants something different.
“The general consensus seems to be that the people of Galion want their government to be honest about this overcharging for electric, and they want to hold their City government accountable,” Wade said, ” The ballot initiative has been doing fine, despite the weather. Between high temperatures and rain, going door-to-door has been difficult. But we are progressing. The City should welcome an audit. But that is not what is happening. So this ballot issue will put that decision about the audit in the hands of the voters.”
Wade said she expects peitions to be completed by the end of the month.
The city said they are taking the proposed issue seriously.
“We’re getting prepared for whatever our next steps would be,” City Law Director Thomas Palmer said.
Pugh is the Group Content Editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel, Bellville Star and Knox County Citizen. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @pughcivitas. Inquirer reporter Kim Gasuras also contributed to this story.