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Published: Wednesday, 6/3/2009

Toledo mulls grant proposal

BLADE STAFF
Wilkowski Wilkowski
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The city already has a plan for earmarking a $3.1 million federal energy efficiency block grant, but it will consider a proposal from Toledo mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski to apply $50,000 to planning for a loan fund for homeowners making energy savings upgrades.

Tim Murphy, commissioner of environmental services, said time is running out to change the details of the city's application for the federal stimulus block grant, which is due June 25.

Mr. Wilkowski, one of four major candidates competing in the Sept. 15 mayoral primary, on Monday said $50,000 would pay for planning the program that he said would create jobs, lower homeowners' energy bills, and upgrade the city's housing stock. Mr. Murphy said there might not be enough time in the three weeks remaining before the deadline to ensure that the energy efficiency upgrade would be successful.

"We want to make sure whatever we tell [the federal government] we're going to do with the money we follow through with that," Mr. Murphy said, calling it an interesting suggestion.

The $3.1 million grant application is already tentatively decided. It includes $1.4 million to start work on a solar panel field next to the Collins Park water treatment plant, based on a proposal Mr. Wilkowski made last September.

Also tentatively proposed in the $3.1 million application are $1 million for a

1-megawatt wind turbine at Collins Park and $650,000 to finish converting city traffic lights to light-emitting diodes, which use less electricity than bulbs.

Under Mr. Wilkowski's proposal, homeowners would borrow from a bond-funded loan pool to make improvements, such as attic insulation and efficient furnaces, and then repay the loans in their utility bills over 10 years. He said the savings from reduced gas and electric bills would pay for the cost of the loans.



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