Last week, the City of Toledo shared it’s proposal on regional water issues. Unfortunately, the mayor’s comments and position on the details were not well received.
For example, Toledo’s Mayor says they will not share ownership of the existing plant. While this is one of the main items several of the 9 contract communities insist upon!
Thus, the conversation during the meeting did not bring the parties any closer on the issues. So, the they agreed to hire a facilitator to come in to help. The expectation would be for the facilitator to identify the issues, discuss the various related position(s) on them and move towards agreement, where possible.
That is a tall order after 35-40 years of water service that has included multiple utility policy changes by Toledo through the years. Most have allowed Toledo to raise the prices, get income tax-sharing and written regional economic development language into the water contracts during that time.
Meantime, the Wood County Economic Development Commission has authorized the funding for a second phase of the Wood County study looking for alternatives. This effort should be completed in the next 4 months. It will detail both design and financial aspects of alternative water options, so side-by-side comparisons can be done of them.
For the District, it’s not about ownership or politics, it’s about our customers. Throughout these talks, we want the best rate and safe, quality water for our customers. Period.