Discussion Opened to Explore Regional Water Management Options
TMACOG is helping facilitate a conversation among the City of Toledo, the jurisdictions in Lucas and Wood counties and the immediately contiguous counties about how we provide water in the area.
At a meeting at TMACOG June 3, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell emphasized his view that water is an economic development tool for the region, that development was going to increasingly favor freshwater regions and there are real benefits to a region-wide system. The question he put before the group was, are neighboring counties and regions interested in exploring development of a regional water authority? If so, what would it look like? People at this initial meeting included elected officials and engineers from Wood, Lucas, Fulton and Ottawa counties; the cities of Oregon, Sylvania, Rossford, Northwood, Perrysburg, and Bowling Green; the Village of Waterville, Sylvania Township, and Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
Warren Henry of TMACOG described the advantages of a regional water authority including built-in backup facilities, ready assistance in emergencies, and greater reliability. In political terms, a regional water authority demonstrates tangible regional cooperation, and reduces local competition, something that businesses are looking for when they consider building.
People at the initial meeting noted that some communities were established based on a proprietary water supply and control of water was a source of community pride. The fair value of existing infrastructure was another topic. The meeting ended with an agreement to continue the discussion at a meeting at TMACOG July 14 at 1:30 p.m. As homework, the attendees were asked to talk to business people in their communities, and also to envision a regional water authority that would best serve their community’s self-interest.
The meeting concluded with comments from TMACOG President Tony Reams and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell about developing our region’s potential, building trust, and not wasting time. President Reams noted that he didn’t want to be at a meeting in ten years and hear someone say that we had a chance but didn’t follow through.