Official defends tap-in fee for new water system users

AUSTINTOWN -- A 500 tap-in fee for new water system users doesn't sit well with a township trustee, but a Youngstown Water Department representative said the fee, which has been in effect for five years, is fair.
Trustee Bo Pritchard said at a trustee meeting this week that the fee is being used for the new water tower on Kirk Road. He said that Austintown users are already paying a 40 percent surcharge for maintenance and upkeep in the Youngstown water system.
Eugene Leson, the water department's chief engineer, said people who build in Canfield also have to pay the 500 fee. He said it is a one-time fee and only for new tap-ins.
He said the fee is not only for the water tower, but for two other projects designed to help expand the system and to equalize water pressure.
He said a waterline on Tippecanoe Road from Canfield to McCartney Road cost 250,000; the new tower was 3 million; and the installation of pressure pits throughout Canfield and Austintown is out for bid now but will cost an estimated 500,000. The pits will keep water pressure from getting too high.
He said that the 500 "impact fee" has been in place since 2002 in the areas that benefit from the projects, generally in Canfield and Austintown. The fee offsets the project costs, he said.
He said the whole system helps pay for the project, but those who get the benefits pay a little more.
"What's wrong with that?" he said.

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