Aqua Ohio makes pitch to Trumbull County Commissioners
Aqua Ohio, a private company, made their pitch to Trumbull County Commissioners, Sanitary Engineers and township trustees, offering to purchase the county's Southeast Public Water System.
The Southeast District services all or parts of Brookfield, Vienna and Hubbard townships.
"I'm to the point of almost anyone that would listen, that would bring water to an un-watered area of the township." said Frederick Hanley, Hubbard Township Trustee.
Expansion of lines, water quality and investment into infrastructure were the key concerns for township leaders.
"A good reliable source water source is fundamental," Hanley adds.
Aqua Ohio, which services communities such as Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville and Canfield, offered $8 million for the Water System.
However, Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda told 21 News they've invested more than $50 million in improvements.
"Do I think we need Aqua Water...no. We have a great sanitary, sewer department," Fuda added.
The meeting opened dialogue between commissioners and trustees, something they all agree was needed.
"The trustees have missed a step. They're seeking alternatives without coming to the commissioners and to our sanitary engineers office first. Now after having this meeting, and having heard some of the concerns, I think we're going to be able to address them." said Niki Frenchko, Trumbull County Commissioner.
Commissioners as well as the Sanitary Engineer argued Trumbull County aims to deliver a good product at a low cost and is a not-for-profit entity.
"Everyone in Trumbull County wants the best quality for the lowest cost, without making a profit off the back of taxpayers," added Frenchko.
Another area concern for commissioners is Aqua Ohio's increased rates.
However, Jennifer Johnson, an area manager of the Aqua Ohio Struthers Division, says those increases are reinvested into the infrastructure.
"Rather than not raise rates for 5, 10, 15, 20 years and then hit them with a 20 percent rate increase, our philosophy has been small incremental rate increases to keep up with the capital investment to make improvements to the treatment facilities, distribution facilities, maintenance," Johnson said.
Gary Newbrough, the county's sanitary engineer, is responsible for sewer and sanitary lines, is urging commissioners to stick with the public water source.
"The water produced by the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District is some of the best water in the country, if not the world," he said.
Commissioners said they encourage any proposals.