City Council to weigh in on Toledo water rate increase - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

City Council to weigh in on Toledo water rate increase

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The additional money generated in a rate increase would be earmarked for upgrades at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant in east Toledo. The additional money generated in a rate increase would be earmarked for upgrades at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant in east Toledo.
A recent survey shows cities in the region charge between $20 and $33 per month for 1,000 cubic feet of water. A recent survey shows cities in the region charge between $20 and $33 per month for 1,000 cubic feet of water.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Toledo City Council members have their first chance to weigh in on the proposal to raise water rates over the next five years.

On Tuesday, City Council held its agenda review meeting, which was Council's first chance to comment on Mayor Mike Bell's proposal to raise water rates for repairs at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.

Bell says the proof is there with rusting, leaking pipes and crumbling facilities.

"What else do we have to do to be able to prove we need to move this forward, outside of somebody turning on their faucet on and getting brown water? And I'm not going to let that happen," said Bell.

On the average day, the plant not only treats, but also distributes around 70 million gallons of clean water to Toledo customers.

The mayor's plan calls for a series of water rate increases over the next five years. If approved, the average residential customer would pay $124 more per year by 2018. Seniors and homestead discount homeowners would pay $31 more per year on average.

A recent survey shows cities in the region charge between $20 and $33 per month for 1,000 cubic feet of water. The mayor's proposal would raise that charge from $14.53 to $24.93 per month by the year 2018.

"Even when we get to the end of what we anticipate the rate increases will be, we'll still be less than most people are paying inside the state," said Bell.

The additional money generated would be earmarked for upgrades at the water treatment plant, issues that are outlined in a recent report to the city.

Councilwoman Lindsay Webb says she does not dispute the need for repairs at the water plant, but is calling for a performance audit to be conducted on the city's water utility.

"To take a look at how the operations are run at the water department. Are there inefficiencies? Are there folks that aren't doing their jobs? Are there ways we can do their jobs better?" said Webb.

Webb believes that audit can be done while water rates are increasing.

"This water rate increase, I think many Toledoans recognize it is necessary, but what remains to be seen is there the leadership happening to create efficiencies that we need at the water department so that future rate increases aren't necessary?" said Webb.

No decisions will be made Tuesday, but Council will be setting the course for a future decision. A committee hearing will likely be held before any vote takes place.

Read more on Toledo's water rate debate:

  • Mayor Bell calls for water rate increase in Toledo
  • Mayor Bell to present water rate increase proposal
  • McNamara calls for study, research before water rates increase
  • Toledo water rate increase in the works
  • City Council discusses water system with EPA
  • OH EPA criticizes Toledo's Collins Park water treatment plant
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