BERKEY, OH (Toledo News Now) – The city of Toledo is moving forward with its plan to force the village of Berkey to pay for its water, but there is a big dispute over how much is actually owed.
Berkey's wells began to run dry in the mid 2000s, and village leaders turned to Toledo for help. Now the city is saying the village still hasn't paid for the work that went into it.
In 2005, a contract was signed that extended city water lines out to the western Lucas county village. The city paid for a transmission line and pump station, and the cost of the distribution line would be assessed against property owners in Berkey over a 30-year period.
While customers did pay for the water they used last year, the city says Berkey has not paid anything toward the $2 million construction cost.
City Council held a meeting Monday night to hear more about a plan to charge Berkey water users $167 per quarter to make up for the cost, and new customers would pay almost $20,000 up front.
Berkey Mayor Barb Huff said the city never fulfilled a promise to help them set up the assessments so their residents could pay. City leaders, however, do not believe this.
"I don't think that they were waiting for the city to advise them, I think they were just waiting. It's not [acceptable], it's not fair to the citizens of Toledo not to get paid. It's not fair to the rate payers of the water system not to get paid." Commissioner of Water Distribution Dan Moline says.
Mayor Huff says they should pay for the transmission lines, but paying for the water tower in Berkey was never part of the original agreement.
If Toledo City Council approves the new legislation three times, Berkey water users will begin to receive a water bill from the city sometime this summer.