YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown City Council members will consider whether or not the city should enter into a 30-year contract with the city of Canfield.
The contract will be for the city of Youngstown to provide bulk water to Canfield.
There is currently a 20-year contract in place that began in 2018, but water commissioner Harry Johnson III said at a finance meeting Tuesday that Canfield was looking at other options.
“You have a competitor. The impact of us losing that customer in the water department would be catastrophic,” he said.
In the meeting, Johnson mentioned that Aqua Ohio has become a major water supply competitor to the city.
“We’re in the position now where we have one of our competitors right in our backyard, Aqua Ohio,” he said.
First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver asked whether or not the current contract is beneficial to the city and if Aqua Ohio is more of a competition now than they were seven years ago.
“With this deal no, with the previous one, potentially yes,” Johnson answered.
Johnson said the current deal was not equitable for both sides and that’s why Canfield was having discussions with Aqua. He said he was not a part of the current agreement between the two cities, but that he had some concerns about its rate structure.
Johnson said Youngstown services bulk water to five customers, including Girard and Mineral Ridge. But, at the meeting he said Canfield is the city’s best customer.
“It represents about a million dollars a year in revenue to the water department,” he said.
The contract states that after the 10th year of the contract, if the rate charged by Youngstown to its “inside city users” were to increase, then Canfield would see the same percentage increase.
“The provision in there, I know it’s long term, but it protects the city if we needed to raise rates in the future,” Johnson said.
The contract also allows for expansion, in which the city would provide more water.
“Sometimes it’s just a little bit to digest, a 30-year-contract. But we all know longevity and long term customers better for our position, it sounds like this is more equitable for Canfield. I think the more fair deal when you do business will make for a better relationship,” said Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray.
The issue will come before council at its Wednesday meeting.