EV vehicles to get charged

Written on 05/14/2024
Patrick Munsey

City considering hourly fee for EVs, fines for violators, at charging stations

This article is brought to you by Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union. Mark your calendars for our 14th Annual Car, Truck & Bike Show on Sat., June 8, in our Main Office location parking lots. This is a free event for the entire family from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a free lunch, a live DJ, door prizes, and more than 25 awards for classic cars, hot rods, antiques, trucks, and motorcycles.

Sign up in person at both office locations, or register online at www.SOLFCU.org

Electric vehicles are here to stay, and the City of Kokomo is ensuring that people have a way to charge them. Over the past few years, more charging stations have popped up across the community.

Going forward, charging vehicles will come with a fee to cover the city's costs, and a hefty fine for those who choose to misuse the designated charging spots. The Kokomo Common Council considered a new ordinance governing EV charging stations at its May 13 meeting and passed the measure on first reading.

Councilman Tom Miklik, the sponsor of the ordinance, read its details into the record. The city has chosen to encourage greater ownership and use of electric vehicles, and as such is installing public charging stations throughout the city.

"The city of Kokomo will incur costs related to the equipment and services required to provide access to public vehicle charging stations, including estimated costs, the purchase of equipment maintenance, subscriptions, service fees, and electrical utility costs," said Miklik.

Since state law authorizes local government to establish a fee for charging services, the city has opted for a flat hourly rate of $1.50 per hour for the first four hours of charging and $3 per hour fee for each hour after the initial four.

According to Miklik, this will "facilitate the turnover needed for greater access and usage of charging stations."

The ordinance also will make it illegal for a motorist to park a non-electric vehicle in charging space or to park an electric vehicle in a charging space without charging the vehicle. The fine for a violation will be $100. The ordinance goes on to establish that the city may tow any vehicle in violation of the ordinance at the owner's expense.

During public comment, Glen Boise did not oppose the measure but did ask that the signs at the charging stations be updated to reflect the prohibition and penalties for parking in a charging space with a gasoline-powered vehicle, or parking in the space without charging.

Tonya Stephenson, wife of Council Bob Stephenson (D-2nd), asked why the city elected to charge a flat rate by the hour rather than the kilowatt hour. Miklik responded that doing so would be impractical.

"The time of day determines the amount of electricity," said Miklik. "Depending on the load at the first of the month versus the end or the middle of the month, or even during the day or night, you may get more draw on kilowatt hours versus hourly rate."

The councilman went on to say the city's study calculated the cost to the city to provide the charging stations each month and spread that cost to all users as an average hourly rate.

"This just covers our costs," said Miklik.

The council passed the ordinance on first reading, and it will come up for a final vote on May 20 at 6 p.m. in the City Hall council chambers.

The city also invited the members of the Kokomo High School boys' varsity basketball team to attend the council meeting and be recognized for their accomplishments. Mayor Tyler Moore was on hand to declare May 13 Kokomo Wildkats Basketball Day.

"I think if you asked the majority of the community, much of the excitement that folks have been talking about these last couple of years actually has to do with the sport of basketball, particularly at Kokomo High School," said Moore. "There's been a resurgence, if you will, in the popularity and the excitement around local sports, especially Kokomo High School basketball, and a lot of it has to do with this group of individuals."

After the proclamation, the mayor and the city council members posed for photos with the players, and a couple even snagged autographs from Indiana's Mr. Basketball, Flory Bidunga.

The council also held a public hearing and passed on final reading an additional appropriation of $812,000 to the parks department, Crown Point Cemetery, the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund, and the transit building fund.