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Government and Politics

More cities drop out of the fight against the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Cleveland Heights is the latest to abandon the legal battle over a stormwater management program, but the case will continue before the Ohio Supreme Court

Kevin Niedermier
Fewer cities are fighting the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District over its stormwater management plan.
Courtesy of NEORSD
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In The Region:

The number of Northeast Ohio cities fighting a multi-million-dollar storm-water project has gotten smaller.

Cleveland Heights is the latest city to abandon the suit against the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District that’s going before Ohio Supreme Court. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier says that leaves eight of the original 12 cities still in the fight over the sewer district’s jurisdiction.

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The cities still suing the sewer district oppose its plan to collect fees from homeowners and businesses to address stormwater problems. A homeowner would pay between $3 and $9 a month, depending on the property’s size.

Last fall an Ohio appeals court sided with the cities, but the sewer district appealed to the state supreme court.

Meanwhile, the suit has tied up $20 million in sewer district funds that could be used to help cities deal with flooding and other sewer related issues. Northeast Ohio Sewer District Director Julius Ciaccia says cities that left the suit have all had administration changes, like Cleveland Heights, which has a new mayor this year.

“They’re looking at their finances and whether or not they can continuing spending money to fight this legal battle. And then there’s also an opportunity to engage with us on some problems that they have that are some gray areas between the two governmental agencies.”

Those “gray areas” include allocating sewer district resources to help repair some Cleveland Heights sewer problems. In January, Cleveland Heights got a new mayor. The city’s new law director, Anthony Farris, calls the decision to drop out of the suit pragmatic. Ciaccia says he’s willing to sit down with the other cities still in the suit and work out similar agreements.

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Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

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