Issue Summaries and Pro/Cons for November 2020 Election

Issue Summaries and Pro/Cons for November 2020 Election

Type: 
News

Nonpartisan Summary Information about Electric Aggregation, Civilian Review Board and ADMAH Levy

Issue 1: Electric Service Aggregation Program – City of Columbus

Ohio deregulated gas and electric utility service almost twenty years ago. Deregulation gives consumers the ability to choose from multiple energy suppliers. It also provides local governments the ability to aggregate. In this issue, the City of Columbus is proposing electric aggregation, a process in which the city pools residences and small businesses as a group buyer to increase purchase power.

If the Issue passes, and the program is adopted, residents will be notified that they will be automatically enrolled in the program, unless they elect not to participate.

 Electric aggregation is widespread in Ohio. The City of Cleveland is part of the largest governmental public retail energy aggregation in Ohio and currently serves over 235 communities. *  In Franklin County, Worthington aggregated in 2019. Cincinnati passed an electric aggregation issue in 2011 and reported that residents saved $1.5 million on electricity in 2016.**

If passed, the City of Columbus will develop a detailed plan for operation and management of aggregation; include in the plan a commitment to 100 percent renewable energy; and commit to encourage development of renewable-energy facilities in Central Ohio.

Pros

  • Community choice aggregation will allow the city to use more green power sources than may be offered otherwise, allowing Columbus to move toward its short- and long-term goals for renewable energy.
  • The implementation of the plan is slated to generate over $1 billion in new investment, generate dozens of new jobs, and lead to increased tax revenues and land-lease payments to the City.
  • Aggregation could result in lower electric rates because of the bargaining power of the City’s many accounts.

Cons

  • The City of Columbus determined the winner of its selection process before bringing the issue before voters.
  • The free market should determine the area’s energy portfolio .
  • A subsidiary of AEP, which stands to financially gain from the passage of Issue 1, is partially funding the City’s campaign for electric aggregation.***

* https://www.nopec.org/newsroom/post/city-of-cleveland-electric-and-natur...

** https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/oes/energy/energy-aggregation-program/

***https://www.thisweeknews.com/story/news/politics/county/2020/09/01/aep-m...

 

 Issue 2 – Civilian Review Board – City of Columbus

This charter amendment would create the Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) consisting of members who represent the diverse communities within the City of Columbus.

Issue 2 would guarantee funding for the operation of the board. Once established, the budget for the board could only be reduced in an amount to any overall city budget reduction.

The charter amendment would create the independent Department of the Inspector General for the Division of Police. The CPRB would appoint the inspector general and govern the operation of the inspector general.

The CPRB would operate independently of the Division of Police. It would have the authority to launch and carry out investigations of alleged police misconduct, subpoena testimony and evidence during the investigations,  and make recommendations to the Division of Police.

Pros

The charter amendment:

  • Will allow Columbus voters establish a framework for a civilian review board that has subpoena powers, the authority to conduct independent investigations, recommend disciplinary action and that is fully staffed and funded.
  • Will provide the foundation for the Civilian Review Board Workgroup’s recommendations on the powers, form and function of Columbus’ civilian review board, and will help ensure those recommendations are implemented with the full support of Columbus residents.
  • Will help establish the pillars for a successful civilian review board, borrowing best practices from around the country, while allowing the community to shape a Board that reflects our shared values.
  • This amendment will hold law enforcement accountable, and puts power in the hands of civilians to investigate allegations of police use of force and other misconduct so we can hold police officers accountable and keep our community safe.

 

Cons

  • As proposed, the Columbus Charter Amendment does not provide any details regarding the training, knowledge, and experience requirements for the board members or Inspector General, nor does it provide the cost to the taxpayers for these positions.   
  • Some of the key elements of a strong civilian review board – things Columbus residents care most about – will still need to be negotiated with the police union, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and will likely face many challenges.
  • Citizen reviews and recommendations may promote police policies that cannot, or are too difficult, to be implemented, and the inability to implement recommendations could degrade the public view of the police.
  • The amount and overall source of funding for the CPRB has not been identified

 

 

Issue 24 – ADAMH Levy – Franklin County

Issue 24 is a 5-year, 2.2 mill renewal property tax levy with a .65 mill increase that would ­­provide funds for the Franklin County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board.  If passed, the levy would commence in 2021. The proposed levy would cost a homeowner $89.93/$100,000 of home property value per year. That is an increase of $22.75 per year over the current levy.  The current levy, which is expiring, provides 71% of the $87 million budget of the ADAMH Board.  The Board’s mission is to improve the well-being of our community by reducing the incidence of mental health problems and eliminating the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in Franklin County. The number of people seeking services from ADAMH has increased 72% since 2014. ADAMH funds 33 mental health and wellness facilities in Franklin County.  

 

PRO

  • Passage of this levy will permit ADAMH to come closer to achieving the goals stated in its mission statement.
  • If passed, ADAMH will be able to prevent a projected $14 million deficit operating budget.
  • ADAMH has experienced a rising need for mental health services due to population growth and the opioid epidemic.

CON

  • The renewal and increase of this levy will burden Franklin County homeowners and businesses at a time when the area economy is in a recession, and government programs may be reduced or eliminated.
  • Increase in taxes this year will be more than expected because of property tax reassessment
  • An alternative would be to fund alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health services with an increase in state funding.

 

League to which this content belongs: 
Metropolitan Columbus