TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The watchdog group 'Protect Our Water' was a hardcore opponent to the Toledo Area Water Authority.
The group has now done a total turnaround. It finally supports the authority. But only after it pressured Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz to make changes.
He attended a packed 'Protect Our Water' meeting Thursday night.
"I believe that regional development is the answer for the city of Toledo and all the suburbs" said Toledoan Pat Holmberg, who attended the meeting.
Toledo will maintain ownership of the Collins Park Water Plant which suburban members will tap into. Rates will be determined by an independent regional water commission made up of members communities.
But the Toledo City Council would have veto power over the rates. Folks at the meeting buy into the plan.
"'Because it's us. Our water. No one group's water" said Jim Krieger.
"Because of the people standing behind it. I trust their judgment," added Nancy Wellman.
Some suburbs have pulled out of the authority.
But Mayor Kapszukiewicz believes the new commission concept will draw them back.
"Oh no they haven't bolted. I think there's a difference between public posturing and private negotiating," said they Mayor.
Plus, non-members of the commission would have to find another more costly water source such as building a new system or tapping into an aquifer.
"Dollars and cents-wise Wade has put numbers in front of our suburban friends. In the final analysis it will make more sense for you to stay with us than go elsewhere," according to Protect Our Water Member Carty Finkbeiner.
First though the city charter must be changed by Toledo voters allowing the commission to set rates.
A public hearing on the issue will be held August 2nd.