Westlake’s mayor and council president addressed the issue of changing water suppliers from Cleveland Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities, saying the city is harassing residents in part by sending them letters last week their rates would substantially increase.
Council president Michael Killeen addressed the issue on Oct. 4 regarding a letter sent to residents regarding substantially higher water rates “as a result of Westlake terminating the agreement.”
“And I mean substantially higher,” Killeen said. “The first thing I want to make clear is the city of Westlake has not terminated that agreement. That is the position of the city of Cleveland.”
In part, the letter said Westlake had “recently notified Cleveland Water that it intends to terminate its relationship with Cleveland Water to seek a relationship with another water supplier.”
The letter specified that Cleveland Water had incurred more than $58 million in expenses.
“These costs, $58.8 million in all, must be recovered as part of our business operations.
In May of 2013, Cleveland Water issued a statement explaining the “Westlake Cost Recovery Charge.”
“Under the ordinance, effective January 1, 2014, customers in Westlake will see an additional charge on their Cleveland Water bill,” the memo said. “These additional charges, detailed in the table below, are determined by the size of a customer’s water meter and are scheduled to recur on all Westlake quarterly customer bills (or monthly if there is a change in the billing schedule) during the five year cancellation period. In general, a typical homeowner has a “1 inch or smaller” meter.”
The May memo included the following, which was sent to Westlake homeowners:
Additional Quarterly Charge to Recover Costs
1" or smaller meters $291 (typical Westlake homeowner)
1.5" and 2" meters $569
3" and 4" meters $1942
6" meters $3468
8" meters $5272
Killeen: No termination agreement in place
At the Oct. 4 council meeting, Killeen said Westlake is still conducting studies and gathering information on the infrastructure and legal ramifications.
“If we thought Westlake residents would have to pay anything near what the city of Cleveland is alleging, obviously our decisions would be fairly easy. But that’s not necessarily clear yet. We haven’t made a decision to go or leave. People that say we have are factually incorrect.
“The city of Cleveland is trying to harass our residents, and create undo concern” Killeen said.
Clough then announced there would be a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Westlake Recreation Center to present the actions that the city has taken over the past several years.
Clough reiterated that there was no basis for the numbers presented by Cleveland Water in the letters forwarded to residents.
“We’ve been advised there’s no legal basis whatsoever for that,” Clough said. “We are continuing to study the alternatives, the positives and the negatives of having more than one supplier.
This action that the city of Cleveland has taken, we tend to believe is nothing more than a scare tactic. There are no substantiated to those figures they’ve presented to us.”
Clough said Westlake has used the Freedom of Information act to obtain numbers and have received nothing.