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Toledo residents get closer look at regional water commission

Regional Water has been an ongoing discussion for months and finally it's in your hands.
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's being called one of the biggest issues facing not just you, but future generations. Regional Water has been an ongoing discussion for months and finally it's in your hands.

Tuesday several neighbors showed up in west Toledo to learn more about the City Of Toledo's Regional Water Commission.  Several at the meeting said they need to know more before they head to the polls.

There's less than 50 days to decide how you want to vote on regional water. For some that decision is easy.

"I'm going to vote for it because I'm for regional government," said Pat Tansey, a longtime resident of Toledo.

For others, they came to Tuesday's informational meeting to learn more about the new plan for regional water which was recently approved by Toledo City Council.

If voters approve the ballot initiative, it would amend the city's charter and form a regional water commission. Together the commission would recommend water rates and improvement plans and Toledo City Council has the power to veto those rates.

The structure of the commission is one causing concern for some. The board would include one utility director per contracted community, but Toledo would get two members and also must be either president or secretary.

"I think Toledo ought to back off to one (commission member) so the villages understand that we honestly want to cooperate, and we want to have a friendly relationship with our neighbors," said Pat Tansey.

But councilman Tyrone Riley who hosted the meeting Tuesday believes this plan is better than previous ones. He says it not only allows Toledo to maintain ownership of Collins Park Water Treatment Plant, but it also gives a voice to the suburbs.

"We're amending the charter, a long-standing practice that has been in place," said Tyrone Riley, Toledo City Councilman District 1. "We're changing that to give the suburban communities cooperation with them and an opportunity to be heard."

While Toledo leaders say their suburb partners are still at the table, they admit they are also looking at other water options.

Roger Sund came to Tuesday's meeting from his suburb community. He said while he can't do anything about regional water now he hopes eventually he and his neighbors will be heard.

"I'm all for the regional water," said Sund, of Monclova Township. "But if they don't change the plan a little bit and take the power away from city council and Toledo it's not going to be any different than what it is today."

One of the biggest questions from neighbors was about the rate structure under the new water commission.

Leaders said that's something they will not know until after the vote, but you can expect an increase no matter what.

The decision will be put into Toledo voters' hands about creating a regional water commission on November 6.

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