Funds would help pay for new vehicles, but dictate which ones county purchases
A state grant could help Union County pay for new vehicles five years from now, but only if the county agrees to go green. During the county commission’s Monday, Sept. 19 meeting, board members were split on a resolution to apply for a grant with the help of the Rocky River Rural Planning Organization. With Kim Rogers absent, the vote failed 2 to 2, with Jerry Simpson and Tracy Kuehler in opposition.
Each year, Rocky River receives $150,000 from the state to help towns and counties make changes to the way they operate, in an effort to cut down congestion. There is a grant available to help Union County pay for new vehicles in 2016 and 2017, to the tune of $100,000 each year.
The catch however is that the cars must be electric hybrids and the funds will not cover the cost of a car. It will only cover 80 percent of the difference between a standard vehicle and an electric one. Also the county has to match 20 percent of the grant funding.
For example, an electric Chevy Volt costs $32,780, which is $16,255 more than the gas version. The grant would pay $13,004, leaving the county with a bill of $19,776.
“It won’t pay for the whole car but it will pay for 80 percent of the difference between a standard vehicle and an electric one,” Stoogenke said.
Out of Rocky River’s coverage area, only the Union County government and the town of Marshville qualify. Union County currently has 140 vehicles with more than 100,000 miles on each, counting for 30 percent of the fleet.
“At some point in the next two to three years, we’re going to have to add some to the fleet,” Coto said. “We have some pretty close to their life expectancy.”
Some county commissioners had issues with the idea however.
“I have a problem with what I see as social engineering,” county commission chair Jerry Simpson said. “Those funds appear to be used to force us as a county to make decisions not in the best interests of our citizens.”
Additionally, Simpson questioned how much of an impact buying electric cars would have on traffic congestion and air quality.