Suburbs can't wait for TAWA, consider other options

Suburbs can't wait for TAWA, consider other options
(Source: WTOL)

MAUMEE, OH (WTOL) - "This is a real set back and it's not good for Northwest Ohio," said Mayor of Maumee Rich Carr.

It's a big decision that could change how much you pay for water dramatically. While Toledo Area Water Authority (TAWA) discussions are happening, suburban partners don't have time to wait.

"We're not ever going to be in this position again where we are going to pay water based on whatever somebody wants to charge us who has a monopoly," said Carr.

It's down to the wire for suburbs like Maumee. Their contract to get water from the City of Toledo is up first in February of 2026 and they need to make a decision on where they will go by this year.

Toledo's decision to take a vote put one of the smallest suburbs in a pickle. Maumee's water rates will increase no matter what option they choose, but it's about mitigating that amount say the city's mayor.

"If we do nothing our water rates will likely triple by 2026," said Mayor Carr. "If we wait and see what happens with Toledo we may miss our time and not be in a position to be able to provide water to our residents at a lower cost than we currently have."

While Maumee only represents a small portion of the customers, if every suburb leaves that's nearly 55% of Toledo's customers.

"If all the other communities decide to create their own water treatment plant or got water from someplace else it would mean substantial water rate increases for the city of Toledo residents," said Ignazio Messina, City of Toledo's Communications Director.

Maumee is evaluating several options beyond TAWA, but fear what could happen to Toledo.

"If that happens what happens to the city of Toledo economically? If the city of Toledo economically were to collapse the collateral effect on Maumee and other first ring suburbs could be a potential real problem," said Maumee's Mayor Rich Carr.

As for the Toledo mayor's office they believe joining a regional authority is best for the long haul.

"Status quo right now would be better for Toledoans, but in the future, we believe that a regional cooperation system is better for everyone in the long run," explained Messina. "It would be better for rates, it will be better for the status of the plant. I think what people are most interested in is what they are paying for water, the issues of governance or ownership of the plant, I think, are secondary."

Toledo's City Council must pass an ordinance before the citywide vote that is expected in November, but Mayor Carr has a meeting next week with his council on the other options to consider what's best for his residents.

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