A city project to use $700,000 to buy homes near an East Toledo municipal drinking water plant has been put on hold, after a 11-1 vote in Toledo City Council on Tuesday.
Councilman Tom Waniewski cast the dissenting vote; the other council members voted to disappropriate all money not yet spent for the project.
The funds were initially intended to buy property near the Collins Park Avenue water treatment plant for an expansion project. Council members authorized the funds earlier this year, but many changed their minds after councilman Shaun Enright introduced legislation two weeks ago to rescind the portion of the funding that had not already been committed to existing purchase agreements.
The project has been controversial, with several Collins Park Avenue residents attending a city council hearing two weeks ago to express their opposition to selling their property.
Twenty-eight homes were targeted for expansion in the project. The city has purchase agreements with the owners of 408, 428, and 662 Collins Park.
Public utilities director David Welch previously said the homes’ prices range from $50,000 to $71,000. No demolitions have occurred yet for the project.
Last week, Mayor Mike Bell used his veto power to strike down Mr. Enright's legislation to rescind funding that had not already been committed.
Nine votes were necessary to overturn a veto from the mayor.
Clerk of council Gerald Dendinger read a letter from Mayor Bell on Tuesday, who did not attend the meeting. In the letter, Mayor Bell called the expansion “inevitable” and explained that his administration has not “threatened” any residents about selling their homes to the city.
In Tuesday's letter, the Mayor also wrote that “the change in position makes no sense.”
Councilman D. Michael Collins said the vote essentially stops the process, something he double-checked with council during the meeting.
“It freezes everything,” he said after the meeting.
Council president Paula Hicks-Hudson thanked the administration for its position, but said that based on the information council received, “we should maintain our position.” She said she hoped for a “cohesive plan.”
The city plans to meet again with residents of the street Thursday.
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