YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown’s mayor has recommended — and city council is considering — raising wastewater rates to pay for improvements at the city’s treatment plant. One man thinks that’s asking a lot for people living in a city with one of the highest poverty rates in the state, so he’s started a petition to stop it.
For someone paying $60, the increase would mean a jump to $73 a month in five years.
John Wilson is in the process of moving into a house on Youngstown’s south side and already, he said his combined water and sewer bills are too high.
“But the waste and everything added up to — it takes it at least to like $86, $87, maybe sometimes $90.”
That’s why Wilson has started a petition on Change.org, asking people to take a stand and say “no” to further increases in wastewater rates.
“I mean, somewhere we have to stop and the community has to actually sit down, all together, and we have to beat this problem together,” he said.
On Thursday at the Poland Avenue wastewater treatment plant, work was being done on phase 1 of the improvements mandated by the EPA.
The money generated from the proposed 4% increases in wastewater rates in each of the next five years will go to pay for the improvements.
“My gripe isn’t to the public officials to say, ‘Hey, you guys are doing this and I want to put all the responsibility on you.’ That’s not true. I want to put the responsibility — half of it on the community, which are accountable for, and half of it with the public officials,” Wilson said.
The proposal to raise sewer rates was presented to Youngstown City Council Wednesday night. It was referred to the finance committee.
A decision is expected before the end of the year.