Howland trustees discuss allowing township residents to switch utility suppliers

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Howland trustees want to meet with Weathersfield and Niles to discuss Niles' annexation plan

HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – With the threat of annexation from Niles looming over Howland, trustees laid out plans Wednesday night that may eventually allow township residents to get their utilities elsewhere.

The trustees also seemed optimistic that there will be a meeting between Howland, Weathersfield and Niles to discuss Niles’ plan.

Howland trustee Matthew Vansuch started with the possibility of a meeting with Niles to discuss its plan to annex land from Howland and Weathersfield townships.

“We have always maintained that we’re willing to have those conversations and we think that those conversations will be able to be happening,” he said.

At a meeting on Tuesday, it was disclosed that because of the annexation issue, a proposed $10 million project could be in jeopardy.

Vansuch said he thinks it’s a Windsor House development planned for Howland — that Howland has cooperated on projects like this before and plans to cooperate on this one.

“That, in our mind, does not need to be held up by the fight over whether we’re going to make residents annex into the city of Niles when they don’t want to be,” Vansuch said.

“Many residents have been calling in inquiring how they can switch from Niles water/sewer and electric service,” said trustee Dr. James Lapolla.

Lapolla said that Howland, along with Weathersfield, Vienna, and Brookfield, has asked the Trumbull County commissioners to allow them to switch to different water and sewer suppliers.

As far as electricity, it can be done and anyone interested in switching should contact the township.

“That does not happen overnight,” Lapolla said.

Howland resident Claudia Fox wondered if annexation happened, would there be cuts?

“Is it true that fire stations will close? Is it true that we will no longer have our own EMS?” she asked.

Vansuch said if Niles’ annexation plan is fully implemented, Howland could lose up to 25% of its land. But, he didn’t know specifically what would be cut, though generally, he called it a very significant negative impact.

At the meeting, Howland trustees also approved a letter to be sent to the commissioner of baseball in support of keeping the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Eastwood Field.

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