Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about TAWA please refer to the frequently asked questions below. Don't see the answer to your question? Contact the authority for more information.
WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY?
- An independent organization to provide water utility services to communities in the Toledo metropolitan region.
- Originating members may include: Fulton County; Lucas County; Maumee; Perrysburg; Toledo; Sylvania; Whitehouse and by special arrangement Monroe County, MI and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
- The Authority will be funded through wholesale and retail services rates and issue revenue bonds.
WON't THIS JUST CREATE ANOTHER LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT TO IMPOSE MORE PROPERTY TAXES
- No. While regional water authorities have the power to seek a property tax under Ohio law, any property tax would have to be approved by the voters of the district.
- The founders of TAWA have expressed the intent not to fund the operations of the district through property taxation.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CREATING A NEW WATER AUTHORITY?
- The Toledo Area Water Authority (TAWA) will be a single purpose government entity focused on providing safe water supply, securing a redundant water supply, maintaining infrastructure, and setting rates in a transparent manner.
- Each community will have a governing voice in the operations of the district. Currently, only residents of the City of Toledo have representation on water issues.
- The TAWA will be able to optimize new water infrastructure development and finance that infrastructure on favorable terms – potentially saving millions of dollars.
WHY A NEW AUTHORITY?
- A regional Authority can provide long-term water service at lower costs than are possible with local governments developing their own separate utility systems.
- The regional Authority is expected to provide for better system reliability and water quality, and develop additional water supplies to safeguard the region in the event of the fouling of a single water source.
WHO WILL BE IN CHARGE?
- It is contemplated that the new Authority will have a Board of Trustees appointed by the member communities.
- No one single community will be able to dictate policy for the entire district.
- The Board is expected to hire an executive to manage day-to-day operations. Through the Board and its voting structure, communities will work collaboratively to benefit member communities and the region at large.
HOW ARE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD APPOINTED?
- TAWA will be governed by an appointed seven (7) member board. These members will be appointed by the communities within the TAWA district.
- It is anticipated that Board members will represent the following communities: City of Toledo, City of Sylvania, City of Maumee, City of Perrysburg, Village of Whitehouse, Lucas County (including the townships), Fulton County, Monroe County (Michigan), and the Northwestern Water & Sewer District.
HOW WILL WATER RATES BE DETERMINED
- Over the forthcoming 8 years, water rates will be based on a rate equalization plan developed by a Technical Sub-Committee of the Toledo Area Council of Governments.
- An independent, professional cost of service study will be completed for the TAWA Board within 2 years of its formation and updated at least tri-annually thereafter.
- Rates for water services ultimately will be set by the Authority using industry standard practices and will be based on the actual costs of providing service. Current rate multipliers and markups will be phased out.
WILL MY WATER RATE SPIKE UP?
- No. Water rates will need to increase to fund needed investments but the MOU provides for rate transitioning, recognizing the need to avoid “rate shock” and enable sound budgeting for water services.
WHAT IF I HAVE TROUBLE PAYING MY WATER BILL?
- The communities coming together to set up the new authority have made a commitment to develop a water affordability program.
- This program will render assistance to eligible customers and also help reduce bad debt expenses, ultimately reducing costs for all customers.
HOW CAN CUSTOMERS BECOME INFORMED AND PARTICIPATE IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS?
WHAT ARE THE STEPS REQUIRED TO CREATE A 6119 WATER DISTRICT?
- Each community that intends to join the 6119 must pass a resolution petitioning the Court of Common Pleas to create the district.
- The Court will review the plan of operation and oversee the implementation of the district. The petition to the Court will reference the agreed upon Memorandum of Understanding.
- Monroe County, MI and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District may join the TAWA by contract once the TAWA is created rather by a Petition.
WILL THE LOW-INCOME ASSISTANCE AND LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAMS BENEFIT THE REGION OR JUST TOLEDO RESIDENTS?
- The low-income assistance and lead service line replacement programs will be available to all residents in the TAWA service area.
- These provisions are expected to provide net economic benefits to all customers, and are characteristic of benchmark water systems across the U.S.
 See, for example, One Water for America Policy Framework – Executive Summary, U.S. Water Alliance, 2018.
WHAT IF ONE COMMUNITY CHOOSES NOT JOIN TAWA?
- A District 6119 may be formed by only two communities agreeing to collaborate in providing water service to its residents and businesses. Representatives of 9 communities in the region have signed a Memorandum of Understanding recommending creation of TAWA noting that the region will be best served by having communities work together.
- While any community may elect not to join TAWA, their doing so will not foreclose others from forming a District and realizing the benefits of regional collaboration.
- If communities elect not to join TAWA initially, they may do so later but will pay more for services than originating members.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH ALL THE CONSTRUCTION WORK TOLEDO IS DOING TO UPGRADE THEIR PLANT?
- Plant upgrades to improve the water system and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements will continue. These assets may be leased to or purchased by the Authority.
- The Authority will independently manage future capital projects.
WILL THE AUTHORITY INVOLVE PRIVATIZATION OF TOLEDO’S WATER UTILITY?
- No. The Authority will be a public agency. The Authority may lease or purchase regional water utility assets.
- The Authority will engage interested stakeholders, including organized labor, environmental advocates, and community groups, throughout the decision process.
HOW WILL CURRENT UTILITY EMPLOYEES IN THE REGION BE IMPACTED?
- Authority employment terms are expected to be equivalent to or better than current terms.
- Safety, training and development, and other advanced programs are contemplated to attract, develop and retain high quality staff dedicated to public health protection.
HOW WILL A NEW AUTHORITY HAVE ANY GREATER VOICE IN EFFORTS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT LAKE ERIE WATER QUALITY?
- By having a single-purpose political subdivision that is solely responsible for water resource utility service delivery in the Toledo region, we will achieve more effective, consistent, and dedicated advocacy for protection of Lake Erie water quality – as well as protection of public health.