Chaos continued in the General Assembly at the end of the session. The leadership of the two chambers threw up their hands in the face of two high profile issues – Governor DeWine’s veto of the bill stripping the ability of the Department of Health to protect public health, and an expansion of the Ohio ‘stand your ground’ rule – and recessed for the year.
A number of ‘must-pass’ measures failed to make it to the floor. Included in that group was OPAE’s amendment to authorize the carryover of unspent AEP and DP&L funds, which had been packaged at the request of leadership staff with a bill dealing with the licensure of nurses, barbers, and cosmetologists.
This leaves us without funds to continue delivering refrigerators and freezers to clients participating in the Community Action Program and the Safe Energy Community Program, the AEP and DP&L programs.
At the end of the year, 572 appliances had been ordered for AEP clients and not delivered. Another 70 clients did not receive refrigerators in the DP&L territory. Of the $5 million AEP annual funding, we left $2,548,278 on the table. In DPL, of the $1.1 million, we left $450,526. This was $400,000 less than we had estimated. Kudos to agencies for doing their best to serve their communities.
OPAE has contacted ODSA, which is working with us to see if some funds can be programmed to finish these jobs. OPAE is also approaching the AEP and DP&L Foundations to see if we can get grants to cover clients that cannot be served with the money made available by ODSA.