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  • Fairbury News staff

Council tables solar idea

A solar panel is shown on a rural farmstead.

Consideration of a green energy program for local electric customers was tabled by members of the Fairbury City Council Wednesday evening.

City Superintendent Brett Ashburn reported a representative from the company Arcadia reached out to the city regarding the solar energy initiative. A company website indicates Arcadia is a tech company which empowers energy innovators and consumers to “fight the climate crisis.”

Local households and businesses can sign up for shares of a solar farm, which the company says will produce energy on a resident’s behalf all year. The solar farm reportedly sends power through the utility’s grid and participants get credit for the power their solar shares produce. Ashburn told council members this in no way states Fairbury would like a solar farm to come here.

Ashburn noted this could include 10 percent off usage on a customer’s bill and a homeowner receiving a $100 payment. The city reportedly gets $100 for everyone who signs up for this.

“It’s no cost for the city or any of the residents,” Ashburn explained. “It’s an opt-in.”

A mailer would be sent out to all residents and businesses receiving an electric bill. While there were some concerns raised by council members, the issue was pushed back to the next meeting.

“You’ve got to be careful because they can change this at any time,” stated Alderman Bruce Weber.

Alderman Jim Tipton asked if this sets the stage for companies to put a solar farm in the area but Ashburn said it is from already established solar farms in Illinois.

“It doesn’t feel right,” said Alderman Jon Kinate.

Since there is the potential for money savings, Alderman Jerry Hoffman feels the city should do some research, although he said Fairbury should not “jump on it” and make a decision right away.

Also during Wednesday’s regular meeting, the Fairbury City Council granted a request from the Fairbury Area Chamber of Commerce to close streets during the annual community sale on Saturday, May 7 in the 100-200 block of west Locust, 100 block of east Locust and Third Street north of the railroad tracks to the alley behind Bank of Pontiac.

The motor fuel work budget was authorized, which entails patching, filling and coating on around 10 blocks this year. This is slightly more than the previous year.

In other action, the group:

-Approved the third and final pay request to Iroquois Paving in the amount of $17,762.59 for the First through Fourth Street sewer project.

-Authorized the 2022-23 Pay Ordinance which includes contracts for the police chief and city superintendent.

-Appointed Cindy Helmers to the Dominy Memorial Library Board to fill the vacancy of James Paternoster.

-Considered and approved a request to hold the 5K and Fun Run for Prairie Central Elementary in North Park on Saturday, May 14 at 9 a.m.

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