TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo City Council approved a proposed sewer rate increase in a meeting on Tuesday.
The rates will increase by more than 7 percent every year between 2015 to 2019 and then nearly 8 percent in 2020. That means tax payers will pay an extra $13 per year. The increase will help pay for improvements to the city's water treatment plant and storage facilities, and council members say it was necessary.
Back in 2002 voters approved the Toledo Waterways Initiative and these increases will help pay for the rest of it.
Now TWI will lead to the construction of new underground storage facilities, so sewage and storm water can be stored during heavy rains and then treated later when the high demand goes down.
TWI also has allowed the city to separate certain sewage and storage water lines to eliminate raw sewage overflow into our waterways.
Now two thirds of the waterways projects have been completed so far and the money from these sewage increases will allow for its completion.
Toledo Councilwoman Lindsay Webb says they knew they had to turn to tax payers for this especially after the Toledo water crisis that happened nearly four weeks ago.
"It already has made a difference," said Webb. "If you drive down Summit St., very near my district, you'll see a brand new state of the art waste water treatment plant that was funded on the back of Toledo rate payers in an effort to stop the overflow of raw sewage into the Maumee River."
Now administrators of the Waterways Initiative believe that by the time this project is completed in 2020 the city can eliminate 650 million gallons of untreated sewage from getting into our waterways and contributing to those algal blooms.
The proposal passed by a vote of 11-1. Councilman Steve Steel voted against the proposal, saying he didn't get the information he wanted about the issue.