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Westlake and Cleveland head to court today in water dispute
Westlake's talk of pulling out could lead to $1,200 water-bill hikes


 
Cleveland says it's invested heavily in providing Westlake and other communities.
Courtesy of City of Cleveland
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In The Region:

Cleveland and Westlake are heading to a court hearing this morning, the latest step in a dispute over millions of dollars in water bills.

Westlake wants to withdraw at least partially from Cleveland’s regional water system, which supplies some five dozen Cuyahoga County communities. Cleveland says Westlake can pull out only after giving Cleveland a five-year notice so Cleveland can recoup millions of dollars for the upgrades it made to serve Westlake.

Cleveland sent notices directly to Westlake residents notifying them that they face a hike of nearly $1,200 a year – for five years -- in their water bills if Westlake splits off.  Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Astrab set today’s hearing in part to consider a request for a gag order. 

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough says says his city isn’t trying to exit the regional system entirely. Rather, he says it wants two options for water service, Cleveland and Avon Lake.

LISTEN: Clough says it's not all or nothing

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“We want the ability – just like an individual might want to buy his groceries one day from Giant Eagle and one day from Marcs, or one day from Riegels and one day from Heines – we want to be able to decide that we want to buy water from both and depending on the circumstance we would decide how much we would buy from either party,” Clough said. 

The money Cleveland wants from Westlake includes costs to bypass Westlake but still reach adjacent communities.

Here's the summary from the Cleveland Water Department about the water bill calculations: http://www.clevelandwater.com/who-we-are/media/understanding-westlake-cost-recovery-charge 

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