Mayor Starr speaks out against proposed sewer rate hike


Sewer Board Member Calls For
One-Year Delay of $3 Billion Rate Hike

Contact: Mayor Gary Starr, Member, Northeast Ohio Sewer District Board of Trustees. 440-234-8811

Read Mayor’s Complete Statement here.

Middleburg Heights Mayor Gary Starr, calling the proposed $3 billion Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District rate hike “monstrous and job-killing,” wants a one-year delay so area governments can analyze its potential impact on the local economy.

Starr, a 17-year member of the sewer board representing 39 suburbs, said the proposal, set for a Nov. 18th vote, would raise rates averaging 18 per cent a year for at least 20 years, with the largest hits coming before 2014, according to District officials. He is rallying other government leaders to help him spread the message:
“Is the price too high for a region reeling from poverty, unemployment, foreclosures and an exodus of residents and businesses?”

“They (the U.S. Government) say families can afford higher rates because household incomes will increase 4 per cent a year. Tell that to the legions of unemployed workers or retirees whose pensions have been frozen for two years.”

Akron, facing a similar unfunded mandate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has chosen to battle the federal government in court because of the steep price tag, Starr added.

“This would be an unvoted tax increase for quite possibly the largest capital project in Ohio ever,” Starr said.

The federal government is demanding a cleaner Lake Erie, he continued, so it should pay for an overhaul of the sewer system, not the struggling Northeast Ohio residents.