County, townships discuss water
By Jack Buehrer
The Ohio News-Messenger
The Sandusky County commissioners' plan to run municipal
water to outlying areas in the county was met with skepticism
Thursday during a meeting of the county's Township Trustees
The commissioners have said that they are opposed to
the townships having their water supplied by outside entities
that could potentially thwart future development. Norwalk-based
Ohio Rural Water has expressed interest recently in running
a line from Lake Erie to a water treatment plant they
would build on Ohio 53 near the turnpike. Doing so would
allow them to supply parts of Rice, Sandusky and Ballville
Rural Water already serves portions of Town-send, York
and Green Creek townships.
"My biggest fear is that going with Rural Water
will lock certain areas in and prevent future expansions,"
said Commissioner Terry Thatcher. "This isn't a battle
against Rural Water directly, but we can't have a water
company come in here and affect our future like that."
Thatcher and Commissioner Dan Liskai said if the county,
municipalities and townships can work together in providing
water throughout the county, working with an outside company
wouldn't be necessary.
"Why go through something like this when we have
water available here?" Liskai asked the 30-plus trustees
from each of the county's 12 townships. "With a little
cooperation here in our own county, we could make sure
that everyone is served. Why would we want to bring it
in from the outside?"
The prevailing concern among the trustees was that receiving
their water from a nearby city or village would result
in a potential loss of land through annexation, something
Thatcher said could likely be avoided.
"If a city runs water to an area, as a rule, there's
usually some sort of annexation covenant," he said.
"I think they're afraid (the municipalities) are
going to eat up their whole township. We think that can
be negotiated and solved. We would need to negotiate an
agreement that says, 'we'll run water out here without
an annexation covenant.' And we think that could be done."
Some trustees said they could foresee problems for townships
no matter who brings water to their areas.
"I'm not saying I don't know what (the commissioners)
are saying is true," said Mike Hetrick, a trustee
in Sandusky Township. "But I can envision that if
this thing is broken up into different municipalities
running water that those entities would have control over
the area they serve, too. You could set up some kind of
a water district, but that would be creating another beaucracy."
The commissioners said they would continue to meet with
the townships and the municipalities in hopes of getting
the water issue solved as soon as possible.
"This is on a fast track," Liskai said.