SAVOY — The village board continues to discuss the idea of an electric aggregation program in the village and whether to allow residential and small commercial retail customers the ability to "opt out."
If a municipality moves forward with a lower-cost energy supplier, for example, a resident or small business owner may still want to opt out of the program individually.
The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved municipal aggregation as an effective way to lower residents' electrical costs. The Illinois Municipal Aggregation of Electric was formed to help local municipalities lower those costs.
Village manager Richard Helton said the resolution could potentially save the average homeowner around $60 to $80 in electrical costs per year. However, no group in the Ameren community has participated in a similar initiative yet, he said.
"It could be a very lucrative program," Helton said. "It's all at the expense of the customer."
While a municipality can't spend money to promote the idea, Helton said, it can spend money on educational material for the program.
"From a staff standpoint, our recommendation is to hold on the program," Helton said. "Let's wait and see how Champaign and Urbana react."
The Champaign County Board earlier this week voted to defer acting on the aggregation proposal until May.
In other village news:
The 2011 property tax levy for residents in the village will be approximately $1.5 million, a 45 percent increase over the previous year. Residents will not see a 45 percent increase in their overall property taxes, only the Savoy component of their tax bill.
The board voted Wednesday to adopt the tax levy ordinance. Last year, property taxes levied were around $1.2 million, which equaled an overall increase of about $50,000.
Village President Robert McCleary said the village will spend about $160,000 on street and bridge construction and $80,000 on street lighting.
"We set a levy high enough to ensure us of capturing the growth that happened in this community. The methodology here is to go high in case something big comes in," McCleary said, referring to new development.
Trustee Jan Niccum said the village should also explore options to assist individual homeowners.
"We need to offset these raises by pursuing clean, light industries to take off the burden for homeowners," Niccum said. "I know it's a really rough economic time, locally and nationally, but (this is) one of the things that we probably need to push a little harder on."
Trustee Joan Dykstra said she does not support the ordinance.
While the village has generally been conservative in its expenditures, she is concerned about "the unfunded expectations filtering down from the state and federal government and the obligations that we need to meet."