Thursday, July 16, 2009


It was December 30, 2008 when the Stark County Board of Commissioners voted to "impose" a 0.50 sales/use tax on Stark Countians. So you and I are "involuntarily" paying more taxes since April 1, 2009.

In July, 2009 they are in a more "democratic" mood. Now all Stark Countians get to vote on whether or not some Stark Countians will save money on their monthly electric bills. But we must wait until November to vote.

Note: According to a Repository report (Commissioners: Let voters decide about about electric aggregation, July 15) about 100,000 who have Ohie Edison/First Energy - OE/FE) are likely to save money.

However, the way the commissioners plan to set up the plan if voters approve county aggregation, the SCPR believes that "uninformed" Stark Countians could end up paying more.

Who might they be?

Folks who are American Electric Power (AEP) customers, that's who.

Because AEP is significantly cheaper than OE/FE, AEP customers may not save money under an aggregation plan but under the commissioners' plan will be automatically included and must "opt out" to not be included.

If it turns out that AEP customers will not be benefited, think a few might not know they need to opt out or forget to opt out?

Why would the commissioners make the gas aggregation plan an "opt-in" and the electric aggregation "opt-out?"

Is the county going to be put to extra expense in postage and administration costs notifying Stark Countians who turn out not to benefit that they need to opt-out?

Yours truly is not a part of the the county gas aggregation plan because cheaper rates are available under the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) "Apples to Apples" program.

Apparently, most Stark Countians are AEP customers. Let's say in the run up to the vote that the AEP customers take the position that they will not benefit and therefore vote down a county electric aggregation plan. Is that fair to the 100,000 or so who very likely will benefit?

In the final analysis it seem as if the commissioners are all turned around on what Stark's citizens ought to be able to vote on and what the commissioners should simply - err, not impose; let's say implement.

Voters in Stark County should have the right to vote on the sales/use tax.

The Commissioners should vote to "implement" an electric aggregation plan NOW and rethink the opt-out part of the plan. Opt-out (a mainstay of the credit card industry as a way for companies to use consumer information for indirect purposes unless the customer "opt-out") in an anti-consumer approach in that it is laced with consumer burdens and therefore needs to be scrapped.

According to The Massillon Independent's account (Stark County resident to vote on opt-out electric aggregation program, Rinker, July 15), Commissioners Harmon and Ferguson favored the opt-out plan whereas Commissioner Bosley was for the opt-in plan. Obviously, Harmon and Ferguson are doing the bidding of Mark Burns of Independent Energy Consultants, Inc. Why?

Bosley has it right with the opt-in, and, as usual, Harmon and Ferguson are on the anti-everyday person side of the issue and bending over backwards to accommodate the Mark Burns and his corporation. Again, why?

While the commissioners are rethinking the electric aggregation plan, they may also order up some "IronY Out" treatment in order to get the irony out of Stark County government.

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