Next, Jim Shaw, the Sanitary Engineer for Lucas County, who leads the TMACOG technical sub-committee, shared his expertise on the potential system. The sub-committee’s goals included sustainable water rates as well as redundancy in the water system. Current rates are based on multiple agreements that will start expiring in 2024. Each community adds local charges for operating and maintaining their own distribution system and projected rates are focused on Toledo's base water rate. Rates were projected for 30 to 40 years to ensure proper payment of capital improvements. Water consumption and water revenue have shifted over the last two decades. In 1999, 67% of the water was consumed by Toledo and 60% of the water revenue came from Toledo, while 33% of the water was consumed outside Toledo and 40% of the water revenue came from outside Toledo. In 2016, 59% of the water was consumed by Toledo and 47% of the water revenue came from Toledo, while 41% of the water was consumed outside Toledo and 53% of the water revenue came from outside Toledo. The rate models project uniform rates with water revenue based on water consumption, that is projected to be 50% Toledo and 50% outside Toledo. The technical sub-committee continues to explore redundancy options and alternatives.
Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson spoke third and stated that safe drinking water has been a top priority since the start of her term. Mayor Hicks-Hudson emphasized that the City of Toledo is at the table for regional water discussions and is fully engaged. She looks forward to the future and wants to collaborate with all parties. The mayor discussed the importance of using our abundant fresh water supply as an economic driver for the region. She talked about the need to heal the lake, clean the river and protect the watershed, which also requires a regional approach. She also noted that safe drinking water and water reclamation issues should be considered together. Mayor Hicks-Hudson described Ohio EPA-approved improvements taking place at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant.
Mayor Craig Stough of the City of Sylvania agreed with Mayor Hicks-Hudson that water is a complex subject and stressed that safety and redundancy are key to a successful system. He is impressed with the rebuilding of the Collins Park Water Plant, but concerned about the burden of cost for improvements on the suburbs. He shared that the City of Waterville has already changed to the Bowling Green Water System and Perrysburg is among those looking to leave the Toledo system, but that he does believe that a strong core city is to everyone’s advantage and wants to collaborate to find a suitable solution for all.