DELTA, Ohio - Tom Sullivan is not sure what the Swancreek Water District board has to do to regain the confidence of local residents.
A change in the board's leadership, he said, is a step in the right direction.
Swancreek Township board members announced Monday they called for the resignation of the water district's board president, Thomas Hall. Mr. Hall has not stepped down but has initiated a meeting between the two boards to air concerns. The special meeting is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday at the township hall.
“It's a good move,” said Mr. Sullivan, president of a group formed to oppose a water line project. “With new leadership, I see it going in a new direction and I see it improving. We need to be able to talk and we haven't been able to do that.”
Residents were outraged last month when the water district announced an $11,263 price tag per homeowner to bring Toledo water to 583 properties in the northeast part of the Fulton County township. A second estimate of $9,715 over 20 years received a similar reception from area residents.
The five-member water board has been working on how to bring safe water to the area, where some wells have been going dry. The plan calls for 11 miles of eight- and 12-inch pipes to transport the water.
But members of the Concerned Citizens of Swancreek Township maintain the waterline is unnecessary. They have accused the board of arrogance and of not listening to residents' concerns.
Mr. Hall said yesterday he is unsure what led to the certified letter he received from the township trustees Monday that calls for his resignation. He said he has asked the water district's attorney to be present at the special meeting.
“I'd like to hear from the trustees what their problem is,” he said. “I think the only fair way to do this is to have the three trustees and the five water board members open at the same meeting so we can air all our concerns.”
Township Trustee Jim Meyer declined to comment about what led his board to call for Mr. Hall's resignation. He added that board members are waiting to see what happens at Tuesday's meeting.
Mr. Hall, who has been on the water district board since its inception more than four years ago, said he intends to finish what he has started. Water board members, he said, share that sentiment.
“One can get discouraged, but this is a task that we set out to do,” he said. “But if there doesn't seem to be a solid backing from the board that created the district in the first place, well, we need a reading on that.”
Randal Ruge, a member of the Concerned Citizens of Swancreek Township, said he hopes Mr. Hall succumbs to the township trustees' wishes. By changing the board structure, Mr. Ruge said he is hopeful that other options will be discussed.
“There has been very little interest in other alternative means in bringing water to those who need it,” he said. “The concern is that the more money going to a high water assessment, the less money there will be for other issues, such as school levies.”
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