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County gets proposal for wind project

JEFFERSON – Commissioners have assigned to an independent committee the task of reviewing the sole proposal for a wind energy project at county-owned property in Kingsville Township.

The county put out a request for proposals earlier this month and the opening was held last week. Board Chairman Daniel Claypool said the county received only one formal proposal for the project, which would supply a portion of the electricity needed to run the Ashtabula County Nursing Home and Board of Developmental Disabilities facilities on South Ridge Road.

Commissioners are seeking an energy developer to erect one or more wind turbines at the site and then sell the energy generated by them to the county over the course of several decades. The county would not have any upfront financial investment in the project.

A survey of the site commissioned by the board indicated that it has excellent wind-energy potential. Commissioners said they received several inquiries from interested developers and decided to seek formal proposals.

Claypool said the proposal will be reviewed by a committee of five: two representatives from the Board of Developmental Disabilities, a teacher from A-tech, Ashtabula County Engineer Tim Martin and Rudy Campagne, contract specialist with the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services (ACDJFS).

In other action Tuesday, commissioners dealt with a number of routine contract amendments for services provided through the ACDJFS for volunteer-based transportation services, prescription assistance for seniors, home-delivered meals and protective services programs.

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with Ashtabula County Medical Center to permit the hospital to provide health care to low-income individuals who are not entitled to Medicaid or Medicare benefits. Commissioner Peggy Carlo said the understanding allows ACMC to tap federal funds for reimbursement.

Indigent care is expected to cost the hospital between $7 and $9 million annually. There is no cost to the county or commitment to cover those losses as a result of the MOU signed by the commissioners.

Commissioners also approved an engagement letter with the Auditor of State Dave Yost for the county’s fiscal year 2011 financial auditing services. The county will spend $134,000 on those services, up slightly from the prior year’s fee of $129,000. County Administrator Janet Discher said that while the auditors expect to devote fewer hours to the project this year, their rates have increased.