Matt Miller

Mayor Miller. 

ASHLAND -- The city of Ashland will enter an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) that could decrease traffic congestion on the portion of East Main Street that runs through downtown.

At Tuesday's meeting, Ashland City Council approved upgrading the signal timing equipment at six intersections via a collaboration with ODOT.

GPS clocks are to be installed where Main Street intersects with Claremont Avenue, Center Street, Union Street, Cleveland Avenue, Miller Street and Holbrook Street. 

"What (ODOT representatives) describe is that we won't lose time as the traffic signals are changing, so traffic will move through easier than it is right now," Mayor Matt Miller said. "What it boils down to is this: They believe it's congested, and it can be improved."

The GPS clocks were suggested by ODOT after the department completed a study on traffic flow in the area.  

ODOT is expected to cover the cost of equipment, and the city will be responsible for installation, maintenance, and the cost of any additional features. Miller anticipates no additional features. 

Miller expects installation costs to be no more than $10,000. It wasn't yet clear if the installation could be done by city employees or if it would need to be contracted out. 

Other news from Tuesday's meeting:

Ashland City Council approved a five-year contract with Trebel LLC of Mansfield for electric and natural gas aggregation services, which are intended for cities to secure the best rates. 

Trebel LLC is to review the city's electric and natural gas usage and identify the most affordable rate for eligible citizens and businesses. 

The current agreement for natural gas and electric rates was passed 18 years ago. That agreement is ending, Miller said.

"You could really tell difference in your bill. It has come down," said Councilman Robert Valentine, recalling a rate change from the last aggregation agreement. 

According to Miller, he and finance director Larry Paxton had met with a number of businesses offering aggregation services.

They partly suggested Trebel LLC because of its proximity to Ashland. Trebel LLC is based out of Mansfield and manages services for more than 170 political jurisdictions in Ohio. 

"They are in tune with evolving state public policies on these issues," Miller said. 

Residents will be automatically included. If anyone would like to opt-out, a letter explaining that process will be sent later this year, perhaps as soon as March. 

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