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City of Ravenna Receives approval from Ohio Air Quality Development Authority

Ravenna – Kelly Engelhart, Service Director, traveled to Columbus last week to request financing through the energy bonds administered through the OAQDA, making the City of Ravenna the third Ohio city to take advantage of energy conservation financing through the OAQDA for the overhaul of equipment and systems at six municipal buildings and the majority of the city’s traffic signals. OAQDA authorized financing up to $6 million for the project at its February meeting. 

Under the financing package, OAQDA authorized two Air Quality Development Bonds of $2,912,499 each for for issuance as federally tax-exempt bonds and Qualified Energy Conservation Bond (QECB) federal tax credit bonds. OAQDA is the state’s administering authority for QECB bonds. Combining funding from the two separate sources results in a lower, “blended” interest rate for the participating entity.

The majority of the project will focus on the utility plants; Water Treatment Plant, which will be receiving new water pumps and drive controls; the Waste Water Treatment Plant will be retrofitted with new bubble diffusers and a high-speed turbo blower system. The majority of the energy savings will be through the upgrades at the utility plants, where utility costs are budgeted at $200,000 annually for each plant. The large ticket item is the retrofit and upgrade of the majority of the city’s traffic signals, and infrastructure capital improvement project that would not be upgraded, given the existing financial resources, without the blending of financing through OAQDA.

City officials expect annual energy cost savings of a guaranteed $121,272, or 31.3 percent, guaranteed.  Also, the city will realize the avoidance of $3.7 million in capital costs had the project been funded by the city’s own resources. In addition, the city will realize annual maintenance cost savings of $67,000, resulting in more that $1 million in operational and maintenance savings over the life of the project. The project also will cut annual air emissions by 1,418 tons of carbon dioxide, 700 pounds of methane and 18.5 tons of nitrogen oxides- the combined equivalent of removing the greenhouse gas emissions of 185 homes.

Ravenna Mayor Joseph Bica, Jr. said that”this project gives us the ability to replace some very antiquated systems that are a drain on municipal resources with state-of-the-art equipment that will save taxpayer dollars and make the air we breathe cleaner. It should also improve the quality of our city work places, both for our employees and the people of Ravenna.”

Ravenna Service Director Kelly Engelhart said that “some of the infrastructure systems have not been upgraded since the 1970s, and the ongoing costs for upkeep were completely ineffient. Also, the capital cost avoidance is significant. These are infrastructure investments we would eventually have had to do, and bundling  them now with low interest rate financing through OAQDA is the best investment of taxpayer dollars.”

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