Akron is helping pay to remove a dam in southern Ohio, but it isn’t costing the city anything. In fact, by acting as a “sponsor” for the Cincinnati-area project that otherwise wouldn't get funding, Akron is saving money.
The Ohio EPA’s support of local water-resource improvements is rooted in revolving loan programs. That means outright grants for projects that can’t pay back loans, are not doable.
But, OEPA has a way. The agency hooks up loan recipients paying big interest, like Akron with its billion-dollar sewer rebuild, as “sponsors.”
OEPA spokeswoman Lindee Amer explains, "People that have gotten a water pollution control loan fund, which is what Akron has done to help pay for sewer work, sponsor waste water loans by advancing a portion of the interest they’re going to be paying along to the organization that they’re sponsoring.”
The program costs sponsors nothing, and they get a tenth of a percent off their remaining interest obligations. Akron’s five sponsorships since 2015 have saved it $7.1 million.