We Didn't Build It So That They Could Give It Away.


Ever Since 1941, When Toledoans Built A State Of The Art Water Treatment Plant,They Have Been Expanding & Improving It With Their Hard Earned Tax Dollars.

Our Water, Our Future, Ours To Protect.





Our Mission Is To Ensure That Toledoans Receive A Fair Price For Their Water System. 

As Well As Any Future Water Deals.




If Toledoans Vote Down The City's Plan To Sell Our Water System, It Will Then Be Our Mission To Make Certain That Any "Deals" Are Above Board.

Toledo mayor optimistic suburbs won't leave water system

July 6, 2018 By Sarah Elms | BLADE STAFF WRITER

The day after Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz told residents at a public forum he was confident most suburban leaders favor his plan for regional water, Perrysburg Mayor Tom Mackin took to Facebook to post his response.


“Perrysburg’s position remains the same,” he wrote. “The administration and council are working together to investigate what options are available and the pros and cons to each one of those options.”

In an interview Friday Mr. Mackin reiterated that he still is considering breaking from Toledo’s system, and he’s not the only suburban leader keeping his water source options open.


“We’ve made no commitment, and we told Toledo that we’ve made no commitment,” Mr. Mackin said.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz pitched his regional water plan to leaders from Lucas County, Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Monroe County, Fulton County, Whitehouse, and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District in May as a counterproposal to the Toledo Area Water Authority plan. The TAWA route required Toledo to lease, if not sell, its Collins Park Water Treatment Plant to the new water authority, which would operate the system.

Instead, Mr. Kapszukiewicz intends to form a regional water commission with representatives from each community that opts to buy Toledo’s water. The commission would set water rates for all customers based on the true cost of service and would make decisions about capital improvements, but Toledo City Council would reserve the right to weigh in.


Fulton County, Perrysburg, Maumee, Whitehouse, Sylvnaia, and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District all are studying whether connecting to the Michindoh Aquifer makes more sense than buying water from Toledo.


“We have not made comments about whether we’ll accept it or not,” Ziad Musallam, Fulton County’s director of public utilities and sanitary engineer, said of Mr. Kapszukiewicz’s proposal. “We’re working collectively with the entire group, and no decision has been made yet.”


Maumee and Perrysburg also are studying what it would take to connect to Bowling Green’s water source, and Sylvania and Monroe County are exploring what connecting to Detroit’s water system would look like. Only Lucas County officials have said they won’t break from Toledo’s water supply.


Both Mr. Mackin and Mr. Musallam said they likely won’t decide which route to take until the end of the year once all the studies are complete and Toledo is able to present concrete rate proposals.


Utility experts from Toledo and its suburbs are crunching the numbers and hope to have water rate proposals available for each potential customer soon, Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.


“That’s one of the things we would need before we can evaluate whether Toledo is a viable choice,” Mr. Mackin said.


Still, Mr. Kapszukiewicz remained confident the water network won’t splinter.


“At the end of this process — after our suburban partners have done their due diligence, after they’ve researched all their options, after the city of Toledo has amended its charter — I do believe that we will attract most, if not all, of our suburban partners who agree with me that our approach is in the best interest of the region.”


Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

Water tower at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant in Toledo.

Regionalism is a two-way street

June 15th, 2018 - By Tom Troy | BLADE ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Regionalization is a two-way street, say Toledoans who, justifiably or not, have gotten their backs up against the proposed Toledo Area Water Authority.


The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and Toledo’s suburban neighbors have made Toledo into an enemy of regionalization in this campaign to make water a regional service.


In that view, Toledo is the barrier to true regional cooperation because it won’t sign over its Collins Park water treatment plant to a new regional commission.


When Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz recently joined the majority sentiment on city council and withdrew his support for the TAWA plan, the suburban mayors reacted with disappointment.


Richard Carr, the mayor of Maumee, said his constituents are so fed up with Toledo’s obstructionism here that they would willingly pay more for their water than they do to Toledo right now just to get out of having to interact with Toledo politics.


Remember that Maumee residents already pay less for Toledo water than Toledo citizens do. At least as of 2015, the price Toledo charged to Maumee for water was $46.74 for 3,000 cubic feet of water per quarter. A Toledo customer paid $55.86 for that same water.


This is not so say that Maumee customers are getting 3,000 cubic feet of water for only $46.74. The city of Maumee tacks on its own costs of $76.39 for a total of $123.13 per 3,000 cubic feet, while a Toledoan is still paying only $55.86.


Toledo has different contracts with all the suburban communities — most of them at twice the rate that Maumee pays because Maumee has an old contract that was struck back in 1985. Unless Maumee can bring into existence a new regional water agreement, Maumee is going to lose its favorable rate structure when the existing contract expires in 2026.


You see why Toledo councilmen hesitate to give up control of the asset? Except for Maumee — and also Perrysburg, which also has an old contract with a low rate — most of Toledo’s water customers are paying as much as two times the rate that is charged to Toledoans, which means that Toledo’s suburban customers now contribute more than 50 percent of the revenue to run the water system.


The argument made by the chamber, and by other smart people such as Toledo’s mayor, is that this gravy train must soon end. The suburban customers can and will find other sources of water (even if they have to pay more), such as Detroit, which draws cold, clean, fresh, nonalgae-clogged water from Lake Huron.


According to Mr. Kapszukiewicz and others, as soon as that happens, Toledoans will be stuck paying for the full cost of the $500 million (or more) in water system improvements, as well as the full annual operating costs.

Those are good arguments, intellectually, though they are probably severely exaggerated.


Toledoans are having a hard time with a suburban approach that sounds a little bit like “how dare you not give us your water system!”


Sean Nestor, co-chairman of the Lucas County Green Party, a network engineer for a local healthcare provider, who has run for city council, while participating in local political causes such as legalizing marijuana and enabling urban farming, has written an essay that points the finger of blame at the suburbs.


He says the suburbs lecture Toledo about regionalization, yet most of the west side of Lucas County refuses to participate in TARTA, the “regional” public transportation system.


Toledo has been doing the heavy lifting in trying to solve the root problem of clean water, which is pollution flowing here from crop and livestock farms up the Maumee River. What have the suburbs done to bring resolution to this problem? Do they, for example, elect representatives who will call the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the governor to task to make farmers and livestock operators bring their manure and fertilizer application under control? No.


The mayors of Sylvania, Perrysburg, and Maumee, turn up their noses at Mayor Kapszukiewicz’s latest proposal, which gives them one seat each on a nine-member board while Toledo gets two seats.

This while Toledoans are currently paying 48 percent of the revenue that supports the regional water system, and Sylvania, Perrysburg, and Maumee, pay 4 percent, 3 percent, and 2 percent, respectively. A single board seat is 11 percent of the vote.


Remember that when rates get equalized (as will happen under regionalization), Toledoans’ share of the revenue pot will increase well above 48 percent.


Over the decades, Toledo has lost population and wealth to the suburbs, leaving deteriorating infrastructure, higher rates of crime, lower-rated school districts, and lower-priced real estate.

From that perspective, the suburbs are takers and Toledo is the giver. Now Toledo is supposed to give up the best asset it has.


“It’s not far-fetched to suggest that suburban communities have been able to develop and thrive in no small part because of the role Toledo played in ensuring that their communities have a safe, reliable, and affordable source of water,” Mr. Nestor observed.


“There is plenty to criticize about Toledo politicians; but the myopic and selfish attitudes of suburban politicians tells me that they are not fit to run a water system that half a million people depend on,” Mr. Nestor said.


Chamber President Wendy Gramza fears Toledo’s position will cause area communities to fracture rather than work together.


It’s the suburban communities that are threatening to break with Toledo, so who’s the threat to regionalization?


The suburbs should take the mayor’s offer. Even that deal might have trouble getting through Toledo City Council.

Toledo Mayor says his regional water plan only way forward

June 12, 2018 | BySarah Elms | BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz could not attend Monday’s regional water meeting with suburban leaders, but a policy adviser made his position clear on his behalf: Mr. Kapszukiewicz’s plan for forming a regional water system is the only one he is willing to pursue.


It’s a decision that suburban leaders called “a disappointing outcome” after more than two years of negotiations with Toledo officials to try and establish a regional water authority that would equalize water rates and plan for future capital improvements at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.


“It’s more important to Toledo politicians that they control the water assets than to cooperate on more efficient water, safer water, and also regional cooperation as a whole,” Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said. “That’s very disappointing that we’re back to square one.”


But Mr. Kapszukiewicz doesn’t view his doubling down on his plan as a setback, as many suburban leaders do. He believes it’s the only route to regional water that Toledo City Council will support, and it gives suburban customers a meaningful voice in the rate-setting process.


But Mr. Kapszukiewicz doesn’t view his doubling down on his plan as a setback, as many suburban leaders do. He believes it’s the only route to regional water that Toledo City Council will support, and it gives suburban customers a meaningful voice in the rate-setting process.


“People have been talking about regional water for not just two years, but for 20 years. We are taking that conversation and putting it into action,” he said in a phone interview from Boston, where he was attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “What shouldn’t be lost in this process is there will be a regional water system by the end of this year and that is because of the leadership and action of the city of Toledo.”


City officials are taking steps to form a regional water commission rather than moving forward with a Toledo Area Water Authority that leaders, including Mr. Kapszukiewicz, pledged in January to form. The commission will set water rates and develop a capital improvement plan for the water system, but city council would ultimately have veto power over the commission’s recommendations.


Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the commission would be comprised of utility experts representing Toledo and each suburban community that buys its water, not elected officials. One key difference from the TAWA plan is that Toledo will continue to own both the water treatment system and the debt that comes with it, rather than TAWA.


Suburban leaders on Monday also expressed concern that allowing Toledo’s council to have a veto authority over the regional water commission’s decisions would leave suburban water-users vulnerable to unfair rate hikes.


“The goal is a contract that’s fair and reasonable, yet in years past that has not happened,” Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken said. “There has not been fair, reasonable, and well-thought-out contracts. Contracts have been used as a weapon in the past, and that’s why everyone is scared of it.”


Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Gramza said she fears Toledo’s position may cause area communities to fracture rather than work together, which could have a negative impact on economic development.


“We have all this momentum, and my fear is that, yet again, the political landscape of this community is going to stifle that growth,” she said. “We are never going to reach our full potential if we don’t have regional cooperation.”


Ms. Gramza added that she believes Toledoans, city council members, and Mr. Kapszukiewicz have been “bullied” by former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who has lead a citizen opposition effort against forming TAWA.

“It’s really unbelievable that they could feel that this is a victory,” she said of city leaders. “It’s business as usual. They can continue to do things in the inefficient, ineffective way that they’ve been doing. They can continue to politically manage our water system.”


Suburban leaders from Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Monroe County, and Whitehouse indicated they’ll continue to explore other water options outside of Toledo.

If the suburbs don’t join Mr. Kapszukiewicz’s new commission, then Toledo water-users likely will see a spike in their bills.


But the mayor said he is confident that most of the suburban customers won’t leave in the end, and Toledo will have enough customers to help pay for mandated improvements to the water system. He declined to say which suburban leaders assured him they would stay with Toledo, and no suburban leader on Monday indicated they were all-in on Toledo’s plan.


“When the charter of the city of Toledo is changed to relinquish rate-setting control, that is not the status quo. That is real change,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said. “I believe, with the benefit of time, people will see this for what it is: real regional cooperation, real regional water.”


Toledo residents can expect to see a ballot question in November asking for a charter change needed to allow the new regional water commission to set water rates.

TOLEDO BLADE OFFERS P.O.W. CHANCE TO VOICE CONCERNS

Carty: Toledo isn’t getting a fair deal for its water. By CARTY FINKBEINER Published on May 11, 2018 TOLEDO BLADE

This past week, The Blade has twice commented upon the status of a regional water agreement. There are regions of this country who have such an agreement in place. There are also an equal number, if not greater number of communities where such an agreement is not in place, and the largest city and/​or county in that region delivers potable water to the region, with individual cities within that region paying a fair and agreeable price for the water they are being provided. Either system has its boosters. And, both systems can work efficiently.


In this corner of Ohio, Toledo built the city’s water treatment plant in 1941, for an estimated $10 million. Since that time, many improvements have been made to the Collins Park Plant and the pipelines, pump stations, storage tanks, and lagoons, which have added up to an estimated value of $943,000,000. That number was thoroughly and professionally reached and defined by an engineering firm, hired by the Toledo Metro Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) in 2012 to analyze and appraise Toledo’s water system.


Since 2012, the city of Toledo has begun the process of making $500,000,000 in improvements to modernize the Collins Park facility. That has increased the value of Toledo’s water system substantially since the TMACOG study estimated its worth at $943,000,000 in 2012. To date, the professionally appraised value of Toledo’s water system has not been recognized by those who wish to purchase the system from Toledo.


Former Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, in a letter dated Nov. 22, 2017, and addressed to the consultant hired to put a regional water system together, raised another very valuable concern: “Discussions on a regional district have not gone far enough in that they fail to explore the better 6119 option — the option of including storm and sanitary utilities in the district as well as potable water. I continue to believe that regionalism would work best if all the utilities are involved...This fractured approach is not a true regional system...and prevents the citizens of the proposed district from benefiting fully from regionalism.”


I believe Ms. Hicks-Hudson was and is right on target. In addition, she was right on target with a further statement: “The proposed make-up of the board is not equitable...Toledo will bear 60 percent of the operating costs but have only 28 percent voice on the Board.”


There is a water impasse at this time for a very simple reason. Unlike Erie, Pa., and other regions that have moved forward regionally, the proposal put on the table in Toledo, by a consultant and about 15 others working quietly out-of-sight, gutted Toledo’s water system financially, put up for sale only that part of the system the suburbs want, our water, and tried to push it through without a vote of Toledoans. And, at the end of all that chicanery, Toledoans would be paying 60 percent of the bill and have 28 percent of the votes on the regional board governing the new water operation.


Former congressman Dennis Kucinich called this one-sided proposal “grand theft water.”


If we are going to further consider a regional water system, let’s get in our cars and drive to Erie, Detroit,and other cities that have, with integrity and justice for all, moved to the regional water concept. Protect Our Water, of which I am just one of many members, will explore all options that strengthen not only our water infrastructure, but other public avenues of regional governance in northwest Ohio.


Carty Finkbeiner is the former mayor of Toledo.


Toledo to own Collins Park Water Treatment Plant - blade 4/9

New Proposal On The Table

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and his suburban counterparts could reach a regional water deal that would keep the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant under Toledo ownership.

The new scenario, proposed by Mr. Kapszukiewicz, contrasts sharply with an existing framework for a regional water authority but could perhaps be more palatable to Toledo voters.

In January, leaders from Toledo, Lucas County, Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Whitehouse, Fulton County, Monroe County, and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District signed an agreement pledging their intent to together form the Toledo Area Water Authority. That agreement outlined plans that included Toledo selling or leasing its water treatment plant to TAWA, something suburban leaders pushed for so that all ratepayers would have an ownership stake in the system.

But the prospect of Toledo losing sole ownership of the water system was met with vocal opposition from residents led by former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who argued the city would be giving up too much control of the utility.

Mike Beazley, senior policy adviser to Mr. Kapszukiewicz, said Monday that the administration has been working with some of the suburban mayors to come up with an “alternative path” to regional water without transferring ownership of the plant. The parties also are looking at whether forgoing the plan of creating TAWA as a political subdivision would save on startup costs, he added.

PROTECT OUR WATER PLANS TO BE AN INTREGAL PART OF THESE DISCUSSIONS TO ENSURE ALL TOLEDOANS ARE REPRESENTED FAIRLY.

introducing our proposed solution

If Toledo’s already existing, regional water system agreements are to be altered, the following basic requirements must be the foundation, for any meaningful dialogue.


BASIC REQUIREMENTS


  • An updated rate study should be completed before any decision is made. Toledo resident, and large customers, need to know what they will pay, and if there are any other charges to be add on.


  • Toledo residents should not paymore for water, than non Toledo residents. This recognizes Toledo’s Legacy in owning and operating its water system.


  • Toledo will own its water assets. An alternative could be considered for Toledo, to sell its assets, for its true value, based on replacement cost determination.


  • As the developer, and historic steward of the Toledo water system, and its largest customer, Toledo requires a majority vote in determining future rate adjustments, but recognizes that major customers should have a voice in setting future rates.


  • An economic development rate is required to retain and attract large commercial and Industrial customers within the city of Toledo.


  • An equal rate for, outside City customers, will apply to all retail, and wholesale, customers that is fair and consistent.


  •  In the spirit of regional cooperation, and the sharing of mutual resources, the tax revenue sharing agreements will continue.


Elected Officials and Community Leaders have expressed concerns with the current provisions of the MOU. 

Protect Our Water shares these concerns, and by working together, we can meet the needs of our community.

PRESS CONFERENCE - APRIL 24

INTERNATIONAL PARK

April 24th, 2018

INTERNATIONAL PARK

April 24th, 2018

THANKS FOR SUCH A GREAT TURNOUT GUYS!

kucinich shows support for toledo's water

Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich took time out of his busy campaign for Ohio governor to talk about the many flaws in the TAWA water proposal.


While it may not be politically correct to "butt heads" with The Blade, Mr. Kucinich feels that this issue is far too important to Toledoans not to address.

Now Let's Show Our Support For The Kucinich-Samples Team This November!

in the news

"GRAND THEFT WATER"!

That's what Ohio state gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich called the proposal put forth by the newly formed Toledo Area Water Authority.


Toledo Blade - March, 2018

"Toledoans Should Be Paid One & Half Billion Dollars, Not A Penny Less"!

Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finbeiner of Protect Our Water let everyone know that while Toledo's water system was recently valued at 1.5 billion dollars, our city leaders were trying to sell it for a fraction of its worth.


Protect Our Water Press Conference - March, 2018

"PROTECT OUR WATER" HELPS FORCE A VOTE!

When city leaders tried to make a deal to sell Toledo's water system without putting the issue on the ballot, Protect Our Water member David Neunendorf was instrumental in pointing out the laws prohibiting such a sale.


Because of Dave, our other dedicated members, as well as our friends over at Water Watch Dog.org, we're proud to say that you'll have a voice on this very crucial issue at the voting booth this November!


Thanks Everyone!

A letter from the editor

Introducing a viable solution.

Protect Our Water has proposed an alternative regional water deal that addresses the concerns of not only Toledoans, but that of our neighboring communities. It allows for the creation of a regional water authority that we feel is more representative of Toledo, as well as a fairer rate structure for all end users.


If adopted, it will also allow the City of Toledo to retain ownership of its water system.
  

We'll certainly keep you informed on the progress of these negotiations.
  

Robert Gabriel  

Executive Editor  

Protect Our Water

toledo area water authority meetings

MONDAY, MARCH 26th - 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Council District 1

Gesu Sullivan Center 

2049 Parkside Blvd.

Toledo, Ohio

THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH - 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Council District 4

 Nexus Healthcare

 1415 Jefferson Ave.

Toledo, Ohio

THURSDAY, APRIL 5TH - 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Council District 2

Bowsher High School

2200 Arlington Ave.

Toledo, Ohio

the blade pages of opinion march 30, 2018

ISSUES SURROUND TAWA

As a former chief chemist, utilities director, and chief operating officer for the City of Toledo, I felt compelled to attempt to clarify some issues regarding the proposed creation of a Toledo area water authority (TAWA).

In the 1940s, Toledo made a wise decision to replace drawing water from the Maumee River by building a water intake over two miles out into Lake Erie and a 120 million gallons/​day (MGD) treatment plant nine miles inland in East Toledo. With excess capacity, Toledo began to supply surrounding communities with water without demanding annexation. Columbus and several other cities have expanded their city size by requiring annexation in order to be supplied with water.

Since the 1940s, different water contracts between Toledo and its suburbs have been negotiated. Several existing contracts will expire within a decade, allowing new agreements to be established. Both Maumee and Perrysburg have purchased and continue to purchase water from Toledo at lower rates than Toledo residents pay. Toledo uses 60 percent of water treated at its plant, while Maumee and Perrysburg together use only 10 percent. The City of Sylvania only uses three percent.

Every community that purchases water from Toledo has the ability to add on its own surcharge that it can on to its residents to maintain their system. It would be beneficial for all communities to see how Toledo rates compared to all other regional water supplies. It would also be beneficial to see how much their own community tacks on to the Toledo rate. Each community should also see an annual report detailing exactly how that additional tack-on revenue is spent.

The 2014 Toledo water crisis jump started the TAWA effort, as it became obvious that confusion over standards and analytical procedures caused the problem.. But it has obviously accomplished little just to repeat the statement — for six decades — that 66 percent of the problem comes from upstream runoff. Toledo is in the process of spending a half billion dollars to both expand its treatment plant and also to add additional treatment processes to help prevent future problems from occurring.

While it is always appropriate and beneficial to consider all aspects of regional cooperation, it must be recognized that Toledo already developed a regional water system many decades ago. Perhaps while it might be time to entertain discussions regarding future water contracts and rates, the current TAWA memorandum of understanding should be totally unacceptable to Toledo for reasons too numerous to list here, which every Toledo resident must be made aware of.

Some non-starters include: Toledo must lease its own plant; major Toledo businesses/​institutions water rates along with all residents double; Toledo loses governance of its own plant; and Toledo must perform cost of service reports and relinquish all assets, not required of the other members. Finally, Toledo is expected to pay 60 percent of the two-year transition costs while Toledo gets less than 30 percent of the proposed controlling board vote.

Toledo has a regional water cooperative arrangement with the City of Oregon that serves both communities well. The regional water rate plan suggested by TMACOG should serve as a template for future discussions. Regional cooperation, as demonstrated by TMACOG in our area transportation network, has proven beneficial to all in our region.

With Toledo’s leadership, hopefully an acceptable water rate solution will be found to present to Toledo voters, one that requires the outside communities to pay Toledo the half billion dollars Toledo is paying for treatment plant improvements in exchange for rate equalization. And just as important, if Toledo is being expected to pay for 60 percent of the transition cost, it also must be expected that Toledo deserves a 60 percent voting position on any future board.

THOMAS L. KOVACIK
South Toledo

in the news

The Toledo Blade

Hit The Road To      Improve TAWA     

Pages Of Opinion - Published on March 27, 2018


The ongoing debate about how to create a new regional water system for Toledo and its suburbs is a mix of the old and the new. Old political resentments and mistrust cast across a new problem.


After decades of singularly controlling the source of drinking water for its neighboring suburban communities, Toledo is facing a new reality. To stand any chance of holding off skyrocketing water rates and crumbling infrastructure for its own shrinking population, it must share power with those neighboring communities.


The suburbs must sell their residents on buying into a whole new water system that should involve subsidizing low-income Toledo ratepayers and paying for new infrastructure. They also must join the campaign to convince Toledo voters to approve the deal, which could be no small feat.


So, from press conferences, to televised debates, to public-information sessions, the leaders of each tribe have gone toe-to-toe fighting to defend the status quo for their side as the agreement to create a regional system gets hammered out.


This is all new territory for northwest Ohio. But, really, Toledo should not reinvent the wheel here.


Metropolitan areas across the country have been creating regional water systems for years. The Chicago-based consultant hired by the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce to facilitate this deal plans such projects for a living.


Detroit created a regional system, the Great Lakes Water Authority, in 2014 to combine Detroit and its suburbs in a new regional system.


Cincinnati voters rejected a ballot measure in 2009 that would have sold that city’s water works to a newly created regional system using the type of regional entity, known as a 6119, advocates have proposed in Toledo.


In Iowa, city officials in Des Moines and surrounding communities are hammering out a memorandum of understanding for a new regional water system much like the proposal in Toledo.


Many of the issues translate from region to region. How will the system be governed? How will it affect rates? Will jobs be protected? Will communities lose political power in the new arrangement?


So much of Toledo’s debate about these issues has devolved into the same old political arguments featuring the same cast of political players. It has become impossible to separate the personalities from the genuine points of contention.


That makes it even more vital for the suburban and city leaders working to create a regional water system that will suit all the Toledo-area communities now and generations from now — when the players have changed — to find a way to step back and make decisions with a bit of perspective.


It is time for those leaders to take the show on the road and investigate how other metro areas are dealing with the issues of shared power, shared responsibility, and shared water. Surely these communities have wrestled with the same challenges. Do they have any innovation solutions Toledo can replicate? Do they offer any lessons on what pitfalls to avoid?


The mayor should form a study group, of critics as well as advocates of the MOU, and send them to other cities to learn. A similar approach was used when Toledo adopted the strong mayor form of government.


The region needs a well planned regional water system to ensure safe, clean drinking water and regional economic development. We can do this if we step out of the provincialism of Toledo.



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