Suburban residents are under duress; Youngstown is piling on
The trustees of Austin- town weren’t surprised by Youngstown’s response to the public records request regarding the Feb. 1 increase in water rates.
1. The township was asking for information that justifies water rate increases.
Youngstown’s answer: “There is no public record that meets this request.”
2. Information on strategic plans to replace, repair, and maintain water infrastructure?
Answer: “Same as question No. 1.”
3. An explanation of expenditures of the 40 percent surcharge we have been paying for many years?
Answer: “Same as question no. 1.”
Are the residents of Austintown, Boardman and Canfield being forced to subsidize the cost of water to the residents of the city of Youngstown? Given the residents of these townships pay a 40 percent surcharge for water, and the population within the city is shrinking, are these township residents paying more for water so the city residents can pay less?
4. Details on all grants applied for to replace, repair, maintain the system infrastructure?
Answer: “Same as questions 1, 2, 3.”
When Youngstown announced an 8.75 percent increase in water rates for the next five years, many of us were shocked.
We always understood that the 40 percent surcharge was being spent for the maintenance of the water lines and everything connected.
There are a lot of grant monies and stimulus monies out there if they are filed for properly. It seems as if no one has took the initiative to apply in Youngstown. Everything goes on the backs of the consumers.
The Youngstown Water Dept. did list some projects:
Shirley Road Line Replacement: $450,000.
Myrtle Avenue Pump Generator: $600,000.
Boardman Water Tank: $3,750,000.
The rest of the repairs or replacements were unknown where they are located. There are 17 other locations at the cost of $27,910,000. Where are they?
Mayor Williams, in a comment in The Vindicator said the law director’s response was incomplete. Oh?
Let’s see what is happening to all of us in the county, the city, Austintown, Boardman and Canfield.
1. Water rates up 8.75 percent.
2. County tax will be on the May ballot.
3. School levies will be on the ballot.
4. Armstrong Cable raises rates.
Insurance premiums increase and pensions are being cut for some. Medical benefits are cut but not the cost of care.
What else will we be asked to give up? Sixty percent of the citizens of Austintown are seniors on fixed incomes. The city of Youngstown and all of the townships are included in these matters. Get in touch with your representatives. Let them know how you feel. Call the mayor of Youngstown.
I know times are tough for all of us. We have tightened our belts so it’s time for the county, city, and townships to also tighten up.
PAUL CUBELLIS, Austintown