City council amends electricity programs, hears of events

Lynnsey Veach, Staff Reporter

Vernon Woodley, an assistant professor in the Sociology Department, announced at the Charleston City Council Meeting that a march will be held on Wednesday, March 9 to bring awareness of the budget crisis and how it is affecting Eastern.

Woodley said the “EIU Red Flag March” will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Old Main, where members of the Eastern and Charleston communities can come together to show the impact of the Illinois budget crisis on Eastern.

Participants in the march will plant 61 red flags on Old Main’s front lawn to represent the number of Eastern employees laid off last semester.

Then the march will proceed to the courthouse, where marchers will plant flags representing the 177 Eastern employees that are to be laid off on March 12.

Members of the community, including several business leaders and student groups, will be speaking at Old Main and the courthouse during the event.

“We are inviting everybody to come on out to the march to support EIU,” Woodley said. “Show your colors for EIU.”

Woodley was wearing an armband as a sign for solidarity with the laid off workers and to raise awareness for all who have been impacted by this budget crisis.

“We are trying to as much as possible, remind our state, senate, house, and our governor that there is a need for them to fund EIU,” Woodley said. “And that what is happening right now to EIU and other state schools is not acceptable, and that we need to put an end to this budget impasse.”

Woodley also said he hopes to see many people attend Friday night’s Coffee Hour hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Diversity. He said the goal of the night is to have a forum that will hopefully build the relationship between the Eastern and Charleston community members.

Woodley said he hopes this will be a productive night in which ICGD will pick volunteers from the Charleston and Eastern communities to make a committee that will plan events throughout the year that bring the student and residential populations together.

The ICGD Coffee Hour will be at 5 p.m. on Friday at Jackson Avenue Coffee, and members of the community are encouraged to come participate in the group, Woodley said.

Luke Young, the student representative for Student Government, announced that due to working three jobs he will be unable to continue his time as the External Relations Chair. He said he will still continue to participate in the External Relations committee, but no longer as chair.

The city council voted in favor of an amendment to the Electrical Aggregation Program Plan of Operation and Governance. This amendment will operate the Electricity Aggregation Program as an “opt-out” program that applies to all residential and business electrical customers.

Mayor Brandon Combs said the Electrical Aggregation Program allows residents an option of having a locked rate of kilowatt per hour for electricity in the city.

The council voted in favor of the municipal aggregation contract with Homefield Energy. This program is for residents with small businesses within city limits, and Combs said Homefield Energy was once again the “winning bidder.” Combs said this program was created in 2012, and the council is required by the state of Illinois to make revisions.

Combs said there will be a letter notifying all residents that they have the option of choosing Ameren over Homefield Energy.

The council approved a renewal for the City as co-guarantor on a loan for Charleston Carnegie Public Library. The original loan was taken out in 2010 for construction to the library. The loan will be from First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust for the total amount of $263,091.

“The construction has already been done and we are just locking in the remaining loan with First Mid-Illinois Bank at a good interest rate,” Combs said. “This is not for anything new to be done to the library, just paying off debt for what was done in the past.”

The council voted in favor of an agreement between the city and Bushue Human Resources Inc. The agreement will be have Bushue Human Resources Inc. provide insurance consultation services associated with the City’s insurance requirements, with a monthly fee of $708.33 beginning this year on May 1 and ending April 30, 2019.

Combs announced the appointment of Steve Bennett as fire chief for a 5-year term on the Electrical Commission, replacing Pat Goodwin.

Combs also announced the appointment of Doug McDermand to a 3-year term on the Fire & Police Board of Commissioners.


Lynnsey Veach can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]