An Austintown Township Trustee is raising concerns over large holes left by collapsed culverts in and near residential neighborhoods.

Trustee Robert Santos listed sites on Fitch Blvd., Fox Chase, Pinebrook Ct. and Wyndclift Cir. as areas of priority need for repair.

While many of these sites are blocked off with large sheets of plywood and traffic cones, others such as the site located on Fitch Blvd., pose greater danger.

A culvert collapse on Fitch Blvd. left a hole measuring approximately ten feet at its longest points, and nearly four feet at its deepest visible point. Its other end is also collapsed, leaving a large hole just feet away from a gas well. Something which Santos said, "could be a potentially huge safety issue."

Santos told 21News he is aware that the decay of storm water drainage infrastructure has been a problem for around two years, and has been neglected by trustees. 

Santos expressed disappointment and frustration that the issue has been "put on the backburner," and added it's a problem that needs to be fixed "immediately."

"Austintown has failed the residents," Santos said, "It's our job to, obviously - once we see a situation like this - take care of it. That's what our tax dollars are for."

Santos told 21 News he hopes to find a solution that would not increase taxes for Austintown residents.

Santos said the "worst-case scenario" would be to implement fees through ABC Water and Storm Water District, a partnership of Austintown, Boardman and Canfield townships, for a solution.

Boardman and Canfield townships require residents to pay a fee for water drainage infrastructure maintenance and repair.

Santos told 21 News, a similar fee for the average household in Austintown would amount to $37 annually, which would be added onto property taxes. Santos estimated that this fee would bring in approximately $1.4 million to repair and improve the water drainage system across Austintown Township.

The Austintown township Board of Trustees plans to host town hall meetings to discuss all possible solutions, and hear concerns from residents.

Dates for those meetings have not yet been established.