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Toledo City Council votes 11-1 to increase water rates

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Needed improvements to the Toledo water treatment plant in East Toledo and elsewhere in the city's water system have prompted the water rate increases.

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Toledo City Council today voted to increase water rates over the next five years and also authorized $146 million in repairs and upgrades to the city drinking water plant.

Council voted 11-1 in favor of the rate increase request from the Bell administration. Councilman Tyrone Riley cast the only no vote.

The rate increases for about 500,000 customers will begin Jan. 1 and continue through 2018.

The increases are to pay for more than $300 million in repairs and upgrades to the city's drinking water plant in East Toledo. That work is expected to create 683 construction jobs for each of those five years, Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat said.

The rates will increase more than 13 percent each year for four years and 4.5 percent in 2018 to help pay for long-overdue fixes to the city’s Collins Park water plant.

Each community served by Toledo would be charged the same percentage increase, Dave Welch, Toledo public utilities director, said.

Council later voted 12-0 on 14 different ordinances that authorize $146 million in upgrades and repairs at the drinking water plant.

"These are the most critical ones identified by the EPA," Mr. Herwat said.

The city was ordered by the Ohio EPA to make the repairs and upgrades.

That was followed by a 12-0 council vote to issue $190 million in bonds to pay for that identified work and other repairs. Mr. Herwat said it is the largest bond issue in the city's history.

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