Talk about creating a regional water authority on hold due to potential consequences

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Since Toledo's drinking water crisis broke out about one month ago there has been talk about creating a regional water authority, but the city's top lawyer is saying not so fast.

In a letter addressed to city council Law Director Adam Loukx says there could be several consequences if Toledo gives up its water system.

Toledo News Now's Tim Miller spoke with Mayor Collins to get more on these potential consequences.

Mayor D. Michael Collins says Loukx has several reasons to be wary of joining a regional water authority. Collins also says a big change like that would have to be approved by voters and that several city jobs could be lost.

"Currently all of the employees at the Department of Public Utilities are city of Toledo employees," said Collins. "And the probability of them staying as such would be probably non-existent."

Law Director Loukx also believes preliminary research shows that its unlikely Toledo taxpayers would get a good rate on their water with a regional water authority compared to other communities.

Mayor Collins says Toledoans would likely no longer enjoy the lowest rates in the area.

"There are always the unintended consequences in legislation and these are unintended consequences," said Collins. "I don't think anybody really thought of this."

City Councilwoman Lindsay Webb says she has been one of the leaders on city council who at least wants to explore a regional water authority.

Webb says its premature for them to say water rates will rise since those discussions haven't happened yet.

"So I think it was like a preemptive strike by the administration, who has already made their position related to regional water pretty clear," said Webb. "But the truth of the matter is many of those things are subject to negotiations. We haven't decided if we're talking about just water or water and sewer."

Mayor Collins shared the chart showing the price Toledo charges other cities for its water and the additional charges those cities charge their customers. Collins says he wonders if Toledoans want the same increase.

Follow Toledo News Now:  

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.