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Issue would ‘stifle’ growth, says former mayor

7/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

When I campaigned for mayor of Norton in 2007, I promoted extensions of sanitary sewers and waterlines as a key plank in my platform, and the voters apparently agreed because they elected me by an overwhelmingly majority.

While mayor, I convinced our Council to reduce the income tax credit by one-half percent, with the increased revenue dedicated to fund the construction of regional sanitary sewer and water facilities, such as trunk sewers, water transmission mains, pump stations and water towers. This measure was not popular with all citizens, but most agreed it was a fair way to finance these common and necessary facilities, and that it would provide a positive benefit to the city.

Now the city is facing the possibility of a dangerous blockade to its struggle for progress. The proposed charter amendment would very likely have only negative consequences for the city and most of its citizens while benefitting relatively few landowners that currently are paying special assessments for sanitary sewer or waterlines. Most of these current assessments are for waterline projects that were either requested or were state-assisted, half-price replacements, so why should these assessments be paid off?

I understand the concern that folks in Nash Heights have with the cost of sanitary sewer assessments, connections and bills, but this charter amendment does not really address these concerns. If the OEPA [Ohio Environmental Protection Agency] orders that sanitary sewers be constructed, I cannot foresee the city doing it for free, so the Summit County Department of Environmental Services will likely build them, and I doubt they’ll be bound by the city charter when it comes time to assess the cost and send out sewer bills.

The net result of this charter amendment will be stifling all progress in the city of Norton. I urge all Norton voters to vote no on Issue No. 1 on Aug. 6.

David Koontz, Norton

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