Athens City Council members made plans to pass a resolution at Monday night's meeting to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts, which call for elimination of funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Over the years, both Ohio University and the City of Athens have received millions of dollars from the ARC to help with economic development and infrastructure. Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St., was one of the first projects in Athens the ARC helped fund.
More recently, the commission granted $500,000 to the city for the McKinley Avenue project and $2 million to the OU Innovation Center to find solutions to support areas that have been devastated by coal.
“Without the ARC, so many programs would lose money, money this area needs, and there is no replacement where we can get this funding,” Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, said. “We need to pass a resolution to advocate that ARC is fully funded or, if anything, receives an increase in its budget.”
City Planner Paul Logue also spoke at the meeting to propose the city work with Rural Action to reduce waste at four city buildings: City Hall, the Community Center, the code office, and Engineering and Public Works.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to get as close to “zero waste” as possible, which is one of the goals of the Athens Sustainability Action Plan.
Rural Action will conduct an audit of the buildings over the summer by observing the level of waste being produced and looking for ways to reduce it. The program will be launched in October.
Rural Action will charge $50 per hour for its services, equaling a total cost of about $6,900 for the project.
The city will give $5,000 from the Garbage Fund and the remaining cost of around $2,000 will be donated by the Sustainability Commission.
Council P resident Chris Knisely said that the city did an energy audit for other city buildings several years ago, which saved them a lot of money in the long run.
“I’m hopeful this will also yield savings, as well as set a good example for the community,” Knisely said.
Later during the meeting, Logue announced that city officials would be working on a 2017 Comprehensive Plan for the city, which will use citizen input to develop a list of goals for the city. Previous plans have included measures to improve transportation, protect the local environment and promote economic development.