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$1,300 Annual Water Surcharge for Westlake Residents Is New News to City

Westlake said news of hefty cost to leave Cleveland Water for Avon Lake is news to them.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

If Westlake opts to follow through with changing its water supplier from Cleveland to Avon Lake, Westlake’s residents could be slapped with a hefty surcharge. 

Mayor Dennis Clough has been pushing for a change for several years.

The city of Cleveland, however, said on Monday that if Westlake goes through, it will take measures to recuperate $39.8 billion it is saying it spent in costs to improve service to Westlake.

Westlake Finance Director Prashant Shah said Cleveland’s discussions at their City Council meeting Sept. 30 were a total surprise.

“We had no prior notification of what they were proposing,” Shah said on Sept. 1. “We haven’t had any correspondence with them.”

He expects the city will discuss the motion.

Shah said the city expected some cost to be associated with their possibly leaving and have asked Cleveland officials to quantify a potential cost.

“We haven’t received a single spreadsheet,” he said, noting the only information received was from the article online at Cleveland.com.

“I’m not sure where they get that ($39.8 million) number from.”

Shah said when there is a problem with a water line in Westlake, such as a break, the city of Westlake is responsible for repairs.

According to Cleveland.com, should Westlake leave the Cleveland water system, neighboring communities including Bay Village, North Olmsted and Rocky River would be affected and Westlake disconnecting would mean another $19 million in costs to the city of Cleveland.

Shah had no information on what the breakdown cost to Westlake households would be, saying the only number he saw was the $291 per quarter (1,300 annually) for five years cited on Cleveland.com.

“We don’t know what number they are talking about,” he said.

Asked if the measure that Cleveland was trying to force Westlake to remain in the Cleveland water system, Shah said, “That’s one of the theories.”

He doubted Westlake would sit by idly.

“We can’t sit on the sidelines,” Shah said. “I’m sure our law director and attorneys will get involved.”

Westlake City Council voted in November of 2011 to allow Mayor Dennis Clough to begin negotiations with Avon Lake, and to hire a consulting firm to create a plan for design and construction.

Consultants at the firm HTNB began the first feasibility study for the switch back in 2007. The study recommended that Westlake pursue the change in suppliers, noting that it would improve water pressure, create a new revenue stream for the city, provide lower rates to residents, and give the city control over infrastructure repairs and customer service.

Avon Lake Municipal Utilities currently serves more than 200,000 residents in seven counties.  

Will October 04, 2013 at 08:54 AM
And Chris you are right. trying to get people information they don't want to hear the waste of time. at least in this forum. I
Will October 04, 2013 at 09:00 AM
I will make one statement for all voters and especially for the parents to seem to be fighting for the levy. Educate yourselves before making a choice. And please make a decision that is not selfish or short sighted. Your choice today affects your friends and neighbors. At least be informed.
Charles October 05, 2013 at 12:12 AM
So why is Westlake bothering with this? First we are possibly going to be charged by Cleveland for leaving. Second and more importantly why do we want Avon Lake water? People in Avon Lake don't even trust the quality of their water. Look up the issues they suspect with the water leading to higher leukemia and other cancer rates in kids. This has been an issue with their water system for years. We thought about buying in Avon Lake but refused to have anything to do with Lorain county because of all the weird cancer rate issues we were told about from residents there. If I had known Westlake was going to do this I never would have purchased a home here.
Roger October 07, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Chris M, you have got to be one of the dumbest people in Cuyahoga County, if not the state (hell even country). You follow the district blindly, without so much as even a question raised and then have the gall to call someone else insane! The only thing that separates you from the insane is a straitjacket. Anyone and everyone that has had the misfortune of reading or hearing you speak is now dumber for having that experience. Grow-up and start using your peanut-sized brain. No to the levy and No to Chris’s stupidity, gall, and hypocrisy.
LO October 07, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Charles : I agree with you on the water issues. I too would not be living here either. I suspect. If the change transpires , many people will be leaving . As far as tax levy NO ON THE TAX LEVEL NOW OR IN THE FUTURE.

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