DANVILLE — It took little time for the new Vermilion County Board chairman to face his first dilemma.
At the board’s reorganizational meeting Monday night, longtime Republican board member Gary Weinard of Hoopeston was elected the new chairman, defeating Democratic chairman Jim McMahon by a one-vote margin.
Weinard had little time to celebrate, however, as board members were immediately faced with deciding their next move in regard to the electrical aggregation referendum that passed in the November election.
Board members voted unanimously to send the plan of operations for the program to the Illinois Commerce Commission despite questions whether the referendum’s authority extends to the entire county or simply the unincorporated areas.
“We’re at a point where we’ve done what we can do,” Weinard said following the meeting. “We’ve got all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed. There is a question now in Springfield as to how the law was written and how it applies and they’re going to have to work that out.
“We did everything right and we’ll wait for the interpretation on whether it applies,” he added.
Prior to the meeting, Integrys officials met with previous chairman Jim McMahon and quoted a price of 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour for the program. Integrys Vice President Ron Cardwell, who attended the meeting, said the price presents a potential annual savings of $200 compared to Ameren’s rates.
Cardwell said Integrys at this point is awaiting the results of correspondence between Vermilion County Assistant State’s Attorney and the Illinois Power Agency. In the meantime, he said work on the program will continue.
“There’s a technicality there that (Donahue) is working out with the IPA,” Cardwell said. “The rest of the program will continue forward and has no reason to be delayed.