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Environment


Sewer district says last week's storms show the cost of doing nothing
In a coincidence of timing, Olmstead Falls has withdrawn from the suit blocking an overhaul
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Courtesy of NEORSD
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In The Region:

CLARIFICATION, 7:45 P.M.: The storm-sewer project is expected to triple sewer fees, but that has not yet occurred.

One of the communities fighting a massive storm-water control program in Northeast Ohio has voted to drop out of a lawsuit against the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. And the district is hoping last week’s storms helped underscore its point with the rest.

LISTEN: Sewer district update

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Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:04)


LISTEN: Olmstead Falls Mayor Ann Marie Donegan on timing

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Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:19)


Olmstead Falls was one of 11 communities that originally challenged the $35 million-a-year plan. The argument comes down to whether sewer districts have the authority to control storm water as well as sewage. An appeals court said no, and the argument is expected to be heard this year by the Ohio Supreme Court.

But Olmstead Falls withdrew from the suit last week, and Frank Greenland of the sewer district says he's hoping other communities hit by last week’s flooding will reconsider as well.

"We’re going to see more of this. There will be another day, there will be another rain event. And problems left unsolved grow only bigger. This is a broad regional issue and we all bear the price of closed roads, damaged infrastructure, so we really need this regional program to move forward and start dealing with this situations systematically.” “

The sewer district argued in court briefs last week that the appellate ruling that storm and sanitary sewer issues are separate is an “absurdity.”

But the communities fighting the fee -- which is expected to triple many homeowner’s sewer bills from about $9 to $27 a quarter -- say the fee is an unvoted tax.  

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