Sep
26

TEN IDEAS: Reduce Our Water Bills by Ending Discriminatory Pricing

Most residents of the 37th District receive their water service from another community, such as Cleveland or Akron.

Hudson residents who receive Akron water pay a $17.76 monthly surcharge that Akron residents do not pay. Twinsburg residents pay double for Cleveland water than what Cleveland residents pay. Stow residents pay 20% more for Akron water.

Where these upcharges actually relate to the out-of-pocket expenses that are necessary to pump water outside the provider’s borders or to repair/replace infrastructure, then the charges are appropriate. However, where they are used “to reduce rates” for their own residents, they are not.

Why? Those communities received millions in state and federal funding to support their infrastructure. Those funds are meant to benefit the state as a whole, and not to free up other money for discriminatory pricing. It’s not fair to take state money, and then profit off neighboring communities.

If we end discriminatory pricing, it will result in hundreds more dollars kept in my constituents’ pockets. It’s an achievable idea that will make a positive difference in our communities.

Sep
14

Last night’s city council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting of Stow City Council:

Carter Lumber property – Council approved the plans for Summit Pentecostal Church to relocate from Munroe Falls to the former Carter Lumber facility near the Graham Road/Route 8 interchange. There are some traffic issues, given the location of the egress driveway, but the church will be using a traffic control police officer, to ensure a smooth process before and after its Sunday morning and Thursday evening services.

Salt problems – The City of Stow — along with almost every other municipality and government body in this area — is facing a salt problem. We are part of a buying consortium, which has been instructed by its Ohio suppliers that only 85K tons of the consortium’s 170K-ton requirements will be available for purchase — and at a 38% price increase. The good news is, Stow is prepared. Our domes are full of 9,500 tons. We are requesting bids from out-of-state suppliers. The price increase is going to hurt (possibly a six-figure budget impact), but not as bad as it might have, had we not been prepared for the supply fluctuation.

Auditor’s award – Ohio auditor Dave Yost’s office presented Stow with his auditor’s award, with distinction. This is an award given to less than 5% of the 6,000 government entities that Yost’s office audits. It’s the “gold standard of record keeping.” Congratulations to Finance Director John Baranek and his team for this honor. Stow residents can be confident that we are doing things right to protect tax dollars.

Duplex legislation – Council took action on the duplex legislation that I proposed. The legislation had two purposes. First, I wanted to tighten up the circumstances where a developer can build a multi-family structure inside a predominantly single-family neighborhood (“Section 1”). Second, I wanted to allow a property owner to rebuild a duplex after a fire (or other event of involuntary destruction), even if the duplex was grandfathered-in as a pre-existing and non-conforming use (“Section 2”). The legislation required 5 votes to overcome the rejection by Planning Commission. … Recognizing that council was not likely to agree on Section 1, I made an amendment to remove it–so we could still pass Section 2. The amendment passed, and the legislation (containing only Section 2) received a favorable 4-2 vote (Lowdermilk, Adaska). Unfortunately, it required 5 votes. So it will not be effective.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on September 27.

Meeting Notes

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