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Wellsville council hears how HEAT helps with gas bills

December 2nd, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Satenik Sargsyan

WELLSVILLE–The City Council’s agenda Wednesday included discussing opportunities to make energy affordable to low-income families and suggestions to improve services provided by the city. Though only a handful of city dwellers were present, council members discussed concerns individual citizens had expressed in prior discussions.

Questar Gas manager Steve Krebs presented the HEAT project that provides low-income families with the opportunity to get through Cache Valley winters with affordable heating. A number of Questar rebate programs, partially subsidized by the federal and state governments, provide substantial returns to homeowners. The gas company also offers $25 energy audits by a specialist who will provide suggestions on how to conserve energy, Krebs said.

“You can get the $25 back,” Krebs said. “It’s a part of the cost-cutting method. We are trying to get homeowners to spend less and save more energy.”

While it seems counterintuitive to advise their customers to buy less of the offered products and services, Krebs said that the small fee and some government subsidies enable Questar to conduct programs like HEAT to help those who otherwise may not be able to pay for their gas bills.

Perry Maughan, a Wellsville resident, used the opportunity of having a Questar specialist at the meeting and suggested that instead of placing parallel gas lines on both sides of the road, company specialists try to place them on one side as the lines sometimes hinder citizens to dig under the road.

Krebs responded that Questar places gas lines on both sides of the city road limits for easy identification in a case of emergency. “When we know where one gas line is, it is easier to locate the other one. It’s done for security purposes.”

Krebs also said that he would take the message back to Questar administration where it would be discussed.

After Krebs’ presentation, council members voiced the concerns about services provided to the city, previously brought up by citizens.

Councilman Carl Leatham suggested that a reminder be included in the city bill to ask people to remove the accumulated snow from their sidewalks to provide adequate safety measures for all residents.

City Manager Don Hartle said that the topic would be covered in the next newsletter.

Councilman Gary Bates had suggestions for the Founders’ Day activities. He proposed that instead of having a paid position for the event’s organization, the council consider going back to involving volunteers in the organization process.

“When we had a volunteer or a couple, they usually pulled other people with them the next year,” Bates said. “So you kind of ended up pulling resources and people you know into different activities each year. It brings new ideas forward. That’s how the Kids’ Games and a lot of other activities got started.”

Bates added that having a paid person to organize the event makes the event go more smoothly but it also means giving up opportunities for volunteerism and generating “new ideas, new blood, and maybe some of the new citizens could be involved, too.”

At the next meeting, scheduled on Dec. 15, the council will hold a public hearing about the synthetic marijuana substitute called spice, and will consider a resolution criminalizing the use of spice in Wellsville.


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