If Toledo Suburbs Can Find A Better Water Deal They Should Take It

image of a logo used on the city of Toledo website

The city of Toledo sells water to all of the suburbs except Oregon. There has been talk about forming a regional water authority so that the suburbs have more of say in setting rates and how the system works. The suburbs don’t really want there to be equal rates they just want to “own” the system to protect their profit margins.

Richard Carr, the mayor of Maumee, said his constituents are so fed up with Toledo’s obstructionism here that they would willingly pay more for their water than they do to Toledo right now just to get out of having to interact with Toledo politics.

Remember that Maumee residents already pay less for Toledo water than Toledo citizens do. At least as of 2015, the price Toledo charged to Maumee for water was $46.74 for 3,000 cubic feet of water per quarter. A Toledo customer paid $55.86 for that same water.

This is not so say that Maumee customers are getting 3,000 cubic feet of water for only $46.74. The city of Maumee tacks on its own costs of $76.39 for a total of $123.13 per 3,000 cubic feet, while a Toledoan is still paying only $55.86.

Toledo has different contracts with all the suburban communities — most of them at twice the rate that Maumee pays because Maumee has an old contract that was struck back in 1985. Unless Maumee can bring into existence a new regional water agreement, Maumee is going to lose its favorable rate structure when the existing contract expires in 2026.

You see why Toledo councilmen hesitate to give up control of the asset? Except for Maumee — and also Perrysburg, which also has an old contract with a low rate — most of Toledo’s water customers are paying as much as two times the rate that is charged to Toledoans, which means that Toledo’s suburban customers now contribute more than 50 percent of the revenue to run the water system.

Regionalism is a two-way street

Suburban customers are paying more than someone in Toledo because the suburbs tack on extra to cover their local water infrastructure. If there is a regionalization and raw water rates equalize then suburban peeps will be paying a lot more in relation to the rise that Toledo residents would pay.

You can see why someone like Maumee Mayor Richard Carr wants to “own” Toldeo’s water plant? That way the true cost of providing water is hidden. Maumee would keep their rates the same (or slightly reduced) so the city would lose little to none of its “profit” for providing water in the city.

I also agree with another point made in the article:

He says the suburbs lecture Toledo about regionalization, yet most of the west side of Lucas County refuses to participate in TARTA, the “regional” public transportation system.

Toledo has been doing the heavy lifting in trying to solve the root problem of clean water, which is pollution flowing here from crop and livestock farms up the Maumee River. What have the suburbs done to bring resolution to this problem? Do they, for example, elect representatives who will call the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the governor to task to make farmers and livestock operators bring their manure and fertilizer application under control? No.

I think if a suburb can find a better deal on water then it should take that deal because the city of Toledo shouldn’t give up something that taxpayers paid a lot of money for over the years.