Energy program available for Iolans



May 12, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iolans will be invited to participate in a program to determine if their homes or small businesses can be made more energy efficient.
The Efficiency Kansas program was spelled out Tuesday for city commissioners by Scott Shreve of EMG, Inc., Iola’s energy consultant.
Under the program, made available through federal stimulus dollars, residents or small business owners can apply to have their properties inspected to determine how they can be more energy efficient.
A software program would then be used to make recommendations on a number of potential solutions, from better sealing windows with caulking, to installing new climate control systems.
Residents could be eligible to receive no-interest loans of up to $20,000, repayable over 15 years, while commercial businesses could receive as much as $30,000.
Participation is voluntary, Shreve said. Applicants would pay a $200 filing fee if they receive a financing package. Loan payments would be tacked on to customers’ monthly utility bills.
“The only possible hiccup would be that somebody may be on the hook financially for an energy audit if it wasn’t approved by the state,” Shreve said. However, applicants would be pre-screened to prevent such an instance from occurring.
The city would not bear any costs for the program, Shreve said. If a customer defaults on the loan, the matter is handed over to the state, who would then pursue collections.
Shreve said EMG would be involved only in the energy audit portion of the program, and then would seek out vendors — preferably local bidders — to handle any installation work.
“All we’re trying to do is get the best price for the consumer,” Shreve said.
Commissioners approved the city’s participation, noting that it should be well-publicized to prompt full participation from citizens.
“A lot of times people don’t know about programs like this,” Mayor Bill Maness said, “or they don’t know enough to feel comfortable enough to want to participate.”

THE CITY will review its animal control policies as soon as the new Allen County Animal Rescue Facility opens.
Commissioners visited with ACARF Board members Larry Macha, Jeanne Cloud and Ray Shannon, as well as Iola Police Chief Jared Warner, about how the city handles stray animals.
Maness said his biggest concern was that the city allows residents to use city traps to catch wild or domesticated animals, but clearing those traps is the residents’ responsibility. Maness said the city should assume responsibility for such animals if city traps are used, particularly dogs and cats.
He said the city should revisit the issue once ACARF opens. The city also will decide whether stray dogs or cats should be taken to ACARF or continue to be sent to Iola Animal Clinic to be held for at least three days before the animals are euthanized. The city currently has a contract with Iola Animal Clinic.
Macha noted that the ACARF shelter cannot realistically function as a “no-kill” facility because some animals may be sick or maimed when they are brought in. In those cases, euthanizing the animal may be best.
The ACARF shelter will be a “low-kill” facility, Macha said. In addition, ACARF hopes to develop a spaying and neutering fund to help control the stray animal population in Iola and elsewhere in Allen County.

IOLA received a $20,391.87 dividend check from Debbie Taiclet of Iola Insurance Associates because of its ongoing participation in the Kansas Municipal Utilities Safety Group Insurance Program. More than $1 million was distributed statewide to various municipalities, Taiclet said.
Commissioners approved the closure of Jackson Avenue between Jefferson Avenue and North Street Sept. 9-11 so that Thrive Allen County can erect a large tent for its 2010 annual meeting. The meeting has been held previously at a local restaurant but has outgrown that facility, Thrive Executive Director David Toland said.
Toland said he visited with all affected businesses but one, and hopes to visit with that one in the near future. He also has cleared the idea with Chief Warner and Allen County Sheriff Tom Williams.
Commissioners renewed contracts with the Iola Municipal Band to play its weekly concert series through the summer at the courthouse bandstand and N & B Enterprises for a portion of the city’s natural gas purchases. Terms for both were identical from 2009.
Commissioners also approved a boot block for volunteers with the Allen County Relay For Life the morning of May 29 at the intersection of Madison and Washington avenues.

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