Monday, May 28, 2018
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Toledo City Council mulls 2 gentler plans on requiring water deposits

Toledo City Council on Tuesday reviewed a proposal to soften requirements for the controversial $200 water account deposit and was also asked to spend $40,000 of taxpayer money toward the city's share of a jointly funded “sustainability plan.”

Council now has before it dueling proposals for water deposits.

This month the Bell administration backpedaled on its plan for an across-the-board $200 water security deposit, saying customers with a good credit history would not be charged.

Councilman Lindsay Webb submitted a proposal that would require water customers to pay that deposit only after bouncing two checks or receiving more than one disconnect notice within a two-year period.

Initially, there were conflicting stories on when the deposit would be refunded.

Ms. Webb's proposal states the $200 would be applied to the next bill after two years of successful, on-time regular payments. Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat said the administration-supported proposal gives the $200 back after 12 months of on-time payments.

“When you are talking about $200 out of the pockets of citizens, it should be vetted by council,” Ms. Webb said.

The administration-sponsored proposal allows a deposit to be applied much more liberally — including for a new customer without a history of payments or someone with a “poor billing history.”

Also Tuesday, the three Lucas County commissioners and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell announced during a news conference that a Colorado-based company, Brendle Group Inc., had been selected to develop “a community-wide sustainability plan.”

The study will cost from $112,250 to $145,250.

Council could vote next week on allocating $40,000 toward the study. The commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday evening to approve the county's $40,000 share.

The Toledo-Lucas County sustainability plan follows the GreenTown Toledo-Lucas County Conference in October, 2012.

That day-long conference examined water quality, recycling, urban planning, physical activity, and access to locally produced foods.

“Following GreenTown, we are pleased to take this next exciting step on making Toledo and Lucas County one of the most sustainable communities in the United States,” Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said.

The Toledo Community Foundation committed $10,000 to the study, Ms. Skeldon Wozniak said.

Tim Murphy, commissioner of environmental services, said state matching grants and other public-private funding sources could be used to pay the rest of the cost. Brendle Group had the lowest bid of six companies.

The highest was AECOM of Alexandria, Va., at a cost from $560,000 to $708,000.

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