Toledo deal likely dead in the water, but search for options continue

By JERRY GREINER President, Northwestern Water & Sewer District At The District, we continue to explore options for water for our 6,500 customers in Northern Wood County who are currently served with water provided by The City of Toledo. The District owns and operates the water and sewer systems within the political subdivisions of Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Lake Township, Perrysburg Township, and Troy Township.  We have provided quality water services to these communities for years and will continue to focus on quality water and fair rates during these talks. If you are confused by media reports or are wondering where The District stands, hopefully, this summary can clear things up.  Keep in mind that talks continue and there are new developments daily, so the opinion in this entry is subject to change. The Toledo Area Water Authority (TAWA) The Toledo Chamber of Commerce-led proposal for Toledo to share ownership of their plant etc. has stalled most likely ended.  The current mayor of Toledo’s representative said they had no support from Toledo City Council to proceed with it.  The Toledo Chamber has done a remarkable job with the effort and expense and continues to have hope in some form of regional cooperation.  The District continues to participate in TAWA discussions, but at this point does not see it moving forward. TOLEDO WATER COMMISSION IDEA In late May, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz proposed a regional water commission.  In this plan, water purchasers (like The District) could buy water at a wholesale rate and have a “commission-like” board seat that would oversee rates.  However, Toledo would withhold the right to set final rates and retain ownership.  A technical committee has been meeting to review details of this plan. I think our Board of Trustees may support this idea for this concept as it meets our long-term goal; reasonable, uniform fair water rates.  While it keeps all suburban parties at the table, until Toledo’s council “weighs-in” on this idea, it’s just more talk.   PERRYSBURG-MAUMEE-THE NORTHWESTERN WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT AND THE CITY OF BOWLING GREEN Last Thursday, The District’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to partner with the Cities of Perrysburg and Maumee to fund exploring alternative water options, of which there are several under consideration.  For example: Continued talks with the city of Bowling Green Discussions with Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) on a groundwater source Review of using Ottawa County as a water source A request for detailed specifics on what all parties require (RFQ) will soon be issued. SUMMARY The devil is in the details, which will hopefully be outlined by the end of this year.  Once we have them, we plan on hosting a public meeting and sharing our preferred alternative.   There are many options to consider, some reasonable, some not based on distance, water capacity or water quality concerns.  The District team is focused on fair…

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Northwestern Water and Sewer District active exploring creation of regional water authority

By DAVID DUPONT & JAN McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Officials from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District will continue to take Part in talks aimed at creating a regional water authority. The proposed Toledo Area Water Authority would purchase and operate the Toledo water plant. Jerry Greiner, the district president, said in an interview that talk of creating a regional water district has been going on for 15 years. But Toledo officials have always insisted they were not able to sell the water plant. Now the new administration of Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is saying that selling the plant is possible, or at least leasing the facility. That plant is in the midst of a $500 million retrofit, that’s about 60 percent done. Toledo is facing financing the rest of the job. As Toledo does this work required by the EPA, it is facing renegotiating contracts with many of its customers, including NWWSD. That contract expires in October, 2024. Those entities are looking for alternate sources of water. Greiner and the district’s general counsel Rex Huffman have been part of the discussion with eight other entities, including Perrysburg. About a third of the district’s 19,000 customers receive water from Toledo, not including those who get Toledo water through Perrysburg. The district draws its water from five entities in all, including Bowling Green. Greiner said that the possibility of the district contracting with Bowling Green to get water is still open. At a district board meeting this morning (Jan. 25), trustees gave the nod to Greiner and Huffman to go ahead and agree to continue to be part of the planning. No formal vote was taken. Rob Armstrong, one of the nine board members, objected. He was concerned about the district’s representation on the water authority governing board. As outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding, the district would share a seat on the board with Fulton County. The seats are apportioned based on the percentage of Toledo’s water that an entity draws. The district draws 5 percent, and Fulton draws 3 percent, Huffman noted. Perrysburg has its own seat, and it consumes 6 percent. District board members indicated they would favor having Greiner or Huffman represent the district, but restrictions spelled out in the memorandum exclude them. Armstrong said he did not want to go forward not knowing who would represent the district on the board. Board Chair Mark Sheffer said the board’s action simply keeps them at the table to continue investigating the process. The district would still have to negotiate with Fulton County to decide on a representative. At the meeting, Huffman downplayed the importance of the identity of the representative. As shown by the district’s own board, he said, people set aside their parochial interests in favor of the good of the organization once they are on the board….