Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is smart to consider selling or leasing Toledo’s water treatment plant to a regional water authority.
Toledo’s Collins Park Water Treatment Plant is a prized possession for the city.
But Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is smart to consider selling it or leasing it to a regional water authority.
Toledo needs partners in ensuring that a repeat of the 2014 water crisis never occurs. The completion of updates to the water plant, replacing lead service lines, and establishing a redundant water source are needed to ensure safe water for city residents and suburban partners. Marshalling the collective financial resources of the region has a greater chance of making this happen than if Toledo were to absorb much of the burden itself.
And that was a very real possibility if Mr. Kapszukiewicz continued down the same path as his predecessor, Paula Hicks-Hudson.
Ms. Hicks-Hudson never seemed to truly believe that Sylvania, Perrysburg, or any other suburban partner would go off on its own to build its own water plant.
This assumption was false because Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough has made it clear that he will do what he needs to do to have a dependable water source for his city, even though a regional partnership was his preference. There was and is no reason to call his bluff.
Ms. Hicks-Hudson’s administration used the cover of the city charter during past negotiations with the suburbs to resist selling or leasing Toledo’s water assets to a regional board. According to Ms. Hicks-Hudson, the charter requires a vote of residents before selling the water plant. Maybe she truly believed that or maybe it was just a way for her to kick the can down the road. But Mr. Kapszukiewicz’s law director, Dale Emch, said the sale can take place without a vote.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz has proven that he has good instincts, and his instincts are telling him to at least consider the option of giving ownership to a regional water board. It is not the only option, and it may not prove to be the best. But regional trust and cooperation have been lacking for decades. Both are needed to give the entire region safe and affordable water.
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