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Westlake Leaders Says Cleveland Water is 'Harassing,' using 'Scare Tactics'

Cleveland ordinance could boost Westlake homeowners bills $1,164 per year.

(L-R) Council President Michael Killeen, Mayor Dennis Clough. Photo credit: City of Westlake
(L-R) Council President Michael Killeen, Mayor Dennis Clough. Photo credit: City of Westlake

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.”

Click here to see the memo from Cleveland Water

“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.

 

 

LO October 07, 2013 at 07:21 AM
First the city of Cleveland has issues on their own. It didn't scare us at all. We simply would be crazy to pay anything other than what we pay now . I am sure many people are on the same page. We simply would not pay extortion anyway :-)) . I think people would move out of Westlake if that happened !!! The city of Cleveland needs a new Mayor like Ken Lanci. Or a totally new regime. Time to clean house and start to build a city.
John Dill October 07, 2013 at 09:36 AM
The real scandal here is the excessive salaries paid to Cleveland Water employees. Call them at 216 664 3060 and ask them how much employees are paid and how big are their pensions?
LO October 07, 2013 at 10:28 AM
I get it . Amazing what's going on . Between the BOE , taxes , Water , we are probably just working to pay them. Forget about Obamacare. That's another story. :-)))
Roger October 07, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The real scandal is that we homeowners and taxpayers are getting screwed. Look at the ballot this November. Three tax increases are on the ballot! Issue 1: Health and Welfare, didn’t Obamacare solve that problem? Issue 80: Metroparks. We all love the mertroparks and Cleveland has some of the best in the country; however, it is on a ballot with two other taxes and a possible water assessment. Issue 88: School. $50,000,000 isn’t enough money to educate 4,000 kids in one of the more affluent cities in Cleveland. These idiots need another $7 - $8 million more ANNUALLY. Lastly, water assessment of only $1,164 annually for every homeowner in the city. If all of these taxes pass and the water assessment is true, we will all pay more than $2,000 additional to local government annually. This is ridiculous. The politicians have officially lost their collective minds.

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