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Angry crowd jeers water proposal

DELTA, Ohio - As hoots and catcalls flew through a packed room, the board of the Swancreek Water District last night adjourned its meeting after several minutes and rescheduled it for next month in a hall large enough to accommodate hundreds of angry Fulton County residents.

The regular board meeting attracted an overflow crowd at the Swancreek Township Hall. Property owners upset about a planned waterline project filled the building and lined up outside, their vehicles parked up and down County Road D.

The cause of their wrath was the County Road 2 waterline project, planned for the northeast part of the township, that has been estimated to cost each property owner more than $11,000 in assessments over 20 years.

The cost estimate doesn't include the fee to tap into the line, which could add thousands of dollars to the bill, homeowners complained. The project is intended as a remedy for wells that are going dry.

“I would look into this waterline at $6,000 or $7,000, but this is too expensive,” said Cynthia Beadle, who lives on Road 2.

Ms. Beadle was an exception among those in expressing any interest at all in the proposed water service. Others rejected out-of-hand the idea that the waterline was needed. Some have formed an ad hoc group - Concerned Citizens of Swancreek Township - to fight the project, which would deliver Toledo water to 583 properties through 11 miles of 8 and 12-inch mains.

Board President Thomas Hall steadfastly maintained his composure in the face of insults and questions about his integrity. He flatly denied that any of the five board members had a financial interest in the project and rescheduled the meeting for 5 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Swanton American Legion Hall.

Mr. Hall said he would do all he could to lower the cost and held out hope for grants and other funding. “You're all here because you don't like the price; neither do we,” he said.

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