Future looking grim for county’s coal-fired power plants

The possible closing of the local power plants has government and school officials scrambling to make budget decisions.

County officials meet with State reps and Union leaders –

Story by Patricia Beech –
Photo by Mark Carpenter-

Officials from various agencies across Adams County joined representatives from the Utility Workers Union of America on Tuesday, Jan. 17 for a meeting with lawmakers in Columbus to discuss the closing of the J.M. Stuart and Killen Station Power Plants.
DP&L has announced their intention to shut down all operations at the plants in June 2018 – a move that will cost the jobs of more than 500 workers from Adams and surrounding counties.
Union representatives are urging the energy companies to consider selling the plants so that operations can continue into the near future.
“They’re wanting to find an exit plan that will not impact the county so harshly and would give us time to gradually adjust to losing tax revenue from the plants,” said Commissioner Diane Ward.
Coal-fired power plants are closing at a rapid pace since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule went into effect last year, and it’s a trend that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Representatives from the Manchester Local School District (MLSD) were among those who traveled to Columbus. The district – which lost approximately $1.5 million in revenue from the devaluation of equipment at the Stuart plant – is set to take an even harder hit when the plants cease all operations.
The district’s board met on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to begin exploring where cuts could be made. “The board is looking at all their options at this point,” said Treasurer Karen Ballengee. “We want to make cuts that will have the least negative effect on the students’ education.”
Adams County auditor David Gifford says the loss of over $8 million in tax revenue from the plants will impact many of the county’s social service agencies including, but not limited to the Adams County Developmental Disabilities, Children Services, Ambulance EMS services, Senior Citizens Services, Libraries, the Health Department, and the Hope Van.
“We have mandated services this county is required by law to provide,” Commissioner Ward said. “If our funding is cut, we’re going to have to trim our budgets back, and trim hard.”