Toledo Council to vote on regional water authority talks - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo Council to vote on regional water authority talks

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

It's being called one of the biggest decisions made by Toledo City Council members.

Either join the suburban communities and their request to change the drinking water system, or refuse.

The idea is that a regional water authority would give Toledo's drinking water customers, like Perrysburg and Sylvania, more of a say in the water system. 

If Toledo doesn't get on board, surrounding communities have warned they will get water elsewhere.

Council member Lindsay Webb said that would drive up water rates for everybody.

"It is in our best interest as a community for us to figure out a way and a path forward with regional cooperation, that will hold rates down the best," said Webb.

That doesn't mean rates won't rise. Webb says Toledoans will see a 13 percent increase in their water rates this year. It's an increase approved years ago to fund improvements needed at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.

Expect future rate increases too.

"Because of the investments needed to be made into the system, and the cost of producing water. That's just a fact of life," said Webb.

During a meeting Tuesday, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson told council members she'd like them to vote 'yes' on a resolution supporting on-going talks about a regional water authority. 

"Because of the need for us to be a region and a place of strength, for the, for not only for Toledo but for northwest Ohio," said Mayor Hicks-Hudson.

While many things still need to be worked out, like what exactly such an authority would look like, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, who has been working with the suburban communities on a water authority, says passing the resolution would be a big, small step for the city.

"In 2017, surrounding communities are looking for Toledo to send them a message whether they're serious or not, this is a pivotal issue that we come together not apart over," said Gerken. 

Council will meet Tuesday to vote on the resolution.

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