Toledo Area Water Authority Plan back on table with some big changes

Toledo Area Water Authority Plan back on table with some big changes
(Source: WTOL)

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo Area Water Authority or TAWA was in discussions for months.

On Thursday however a new plan was put on the table to address some of the concerns of Toledo City Council, but now TAWA is back, but not the same.

A lot happened in the 24 hours between Thursday and Friday.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz presented a new plan for a regional water partnership on Thursday, then, the member communities met, and decided to go back to an amended version of the old plan.

In the newest version, Toledo maintains ownership of the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant, something that held a lot of Toledoans back from supporting TAWA originally.

"At this point the TAWA is alive, we want to thank the Mayor for his proposal. It didn't seem to work for everybody, but it opened up the avenues of discussion," said Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken.

In the new version of the TAWA plan, the member communities would lease the treatment plant.

Mayor Kapszukiewicz was worried the original TAWA plan would not pass because of the backlash they've gotten within the Toledo community.

That's why he came forward with a new plan.

"To some extent politics is the art of the possible," said Kapszukiewicz.

Gerken says the Mayor made it clear in discussions that he was for TAWA.

Kapszukiewicz believes a lot of progress was made on Friday, with so many parties sitting at the table.

"We've been talking about this for 20 years, it's important that we take the time to get it right. I was very encouraged by the conversation and the candor," said Kapszukiewicz.

Gerken says this is a major step forward and he believes this is a good way to help some Toledoans be more comfortable with the new arrangement.

Many suburban leaders were not happy with the new plan that ended up in their inbox on Thursday morning.

Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough says his biggest issue was Toledo City Council's ability to determine water rates for everyone in the region, but he feels good about the new plan.

"We cannot continue to politicize water, price it differently for different customers and let politicians be in charge," said Stough.

The amended TAWA plan still ultimately needs approval from Toledo City Council to end up on the November ballot.

Council member Nick Komives says he hopes they let the taxpayers vote.

"To allow just 6 city council members define what is going to happen to this region for the course of what is going to happen for the next 50, 100 years is impractical," said Komives.

Mayor Stough agreed.

"We want that vote to proceed, we want Toledo city council to go ahead, even if they don't agree with all of it, don't agree unanimously, put it on the ballot," said Stough.

The group plans on meeting again June 11th after going back and talking to their communities.

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