TAWA Member communities respond to possible vote

TAWA Member communities respond to possible vote
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - If taxpayers have been tuning out when they hear "regional water authority", now they have to pay attention.

Wednesday it was announced if Toledo City Council approves moving ahead with TAWA, it will go to the voters.

This is a new development making some of the other TAWA communities nervous, mostly because of the waiting game they have to play.

If this is successful, the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant wouldn't belong to just Toledo, but all nine member TAWA communities in hopes of everyone getting fair water rates.

Multiple Toledo city council members are saying this is the most important thing they could ever vote on, but, ultimately it'll be up to Toledoans to determine the fate of water rates for years to come.

"It makes everybody nervous going to the vote of the people is always a good thing to do, I don't disagree with that but it gives us less time to react to come up with a new water supply," said Mayor Stough.

"Initially, it's disappointment, we wanted to follow the timeline, we wanted to stay on the current schedule because we were really making a lot of progress," said Theresa Pollick, the Public Information Officer for the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.

Member communities were supposed to have the document supporting TAWA approved by March 15th, but, the whole process is on hold.

If Toledo City Council approves TAWA, which isn't a guarantee at this point, taxpayers then have to give their green light in November.

Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said "this puts the brakes on everything."

Maumee's water contract with Toledo is up in 2026, one of the first to expire, and Carr said they don't have time to wait nine months for a no vote.

Northwestern Water and Sewer District leaders and Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough agree this is making them explore other options in the case this doesn't pass.

"We're thinking that maybe the next right steps are to take another look at  another MOU that would be for all of the other regional partners except Toledo in the event they don't approve it at the ballot box," said Stough.

"If you look at the possibility of everyone receiving better rates, that's what everybody wants but we all have to come to the table and agree and this is why these discussions are so challenging," said Pollick.

Stough said their options are going in on the MOU with the other communities and still getting the water from Toledo, using the access to the Western Basin of Lake Erie, or possibly getting its water from Detroit.

All TAWA stakeholders that spoke to WTOL 11 said TAWA is the best option, they are just scared of putting all of their eggs in one basket if the vote is no in November.

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