Toledo area water authority proposal shot down by opponents at public meeting

Toledo area water authority proposal shot down by opponents at public meeting

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The sell job is underway: Convincing Toledoans they should join the proposed Toledo Area Water Authority.

It could be an uphill battle. Each city council district is hosting a TAWA public meeting.

First stop: East Toledo.

Councilman Peter Ujvagi said it's important for council members to place it before voters.

"This probably is going to be one of the most important votes city council has made in decades," he said

But most of the people speaking oppose the authority as it's now set up.

Mike Craig represented east Toledo on council for 9 1/2 years. He said the city doesn't have a loud enough voice on the authority's board.

"Representation is not proportioned to the amount we pay or the amount we use," said Craig.

But suburban partners are now working on a memorandum of understanding for their own authority. Members don't want to lose any momentum for the concept while waiting on what Toledoans decide at the polls.

Also a water plant minus Toledo's Collins Park facility must still be chosen.

Toledo, it's emphasized, will still be welcome to come on board.

No matter what,  opponents from the group Protect Our Water-POW said Toledo water rates will go up while suburban partners fail to pay their fair share.

"This helps suburbia. End of discussion. It doesn't not help Toledo" said former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and POW member.

Patiently answering questions at the meeting was Eric Rothstein of TAWA. He said the authority will benefit the region if everyone is on the same page.

"There's almost no question there is literally millions of dollars in savings that may be achieved if everyone comes together and works together as opposed to fracturing," said Rothstein.

The next water authority meeting is next Thursday at the Sanger Library at 6 p.m.

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