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Published: Wednesday, 1/11/2006

Sylvania Township: Residents question commissioners on waterline

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A waterline first requested in 1999 may be significantly altered because some Sylvania Township residents are complaining about the expense to Lucas County commissioners.

One of them, Clark Woods, told commissioners he estimated a charge of more than $20,000 for the waterline installation and additional fees, adding that, "I just opened a new well,'' on his property.

He said later that with interest on the amount, if it is added to his tax bill, he could eventually reach $40,000. He said he owns more than one lot and probably has the most frontage of any property on Stewart Road.

He told commissioners he is satisfied with the water he gets and has no desire to pay for the installation of a line to provide water and then be billed for it.

"We've been getting our water from God,'' he said, adding that it's free.

He said he views the plans as the "government gods'' wanting to start supplying water and charging him for it.

As a retiree on a fixed income, Mr. Woods said he can't afford the additional expense.

About half the residents of Stewart Road sided with Mr. Woods, practically if not theologically, when the first petition was received asking the county to install a waterline.

Jim Shaw, the county's sanitary engineer, said the project had moved forward more slowly than usual in part because the petition for the line indicated a nearly-even split in the neighborhood and it involved discussions with Sylvania on whether to uproot trees or break through pavement to install the line.

The street runs north and south between Alexis and Old State Line roads in Sylvania Township, between Whiteford Road and Monroe Street.

Mr. Shaw estimated that 15 to 20 people attended the public hearing and most opposed the installation of the waterline.

There are 56 parcels affected by the planned installation, and Mr. Shaw said the majority of the owners who are seeking the water service are in the middle of Stewart.

He said property owners have contacted his office since the hearing and there will be an updated list of those who are interested in the line.

There is a waterline now which runs east and west along Carter Road and ends at Stewart. Mr. Shaw said it is possible that a line can be run from there and then north on Stewart to the area where most people seem to want the service.

It would change the project from the installation of a line of about 3,600 feet to about 1,000 feet, he said. The cost would still be $53 per front-foot for each property owner.He added that if there are owners in the area for which the bill would create a financial hardship, they can apply to the county commissioners for a deferral of up to 75 percent of the assessment.

He cautioned that the break is awarded to the individual and not to the property. A subsequent owner would have to reimburse the county for the expense of the installation.

A time frame for resolving the issues, he said, is uncertain, but he would like to have an agreement in place this month.



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