Trumbull County, Warren to meet Friday to iron out sewer-rate dispute

Staff report


Trumbull County and Warren officials will meet Friday in an effort to resolve a dispute over sewer rates that could affect thousands of Trumbull County property owners.

A dispute between the county Sanitary Engineer’s office and city of Warren dating back more than a year became public Tuesday when county commissioners and Gary Newbrough, deputy Trumbull County sanitary engineer, discussed it at a public meeting.

The commissioners had intended to pass a resolution Wednesday that would have notified Warren that the county was canceling an agreement between the county and city regarding sewage rates the county charges to customers in an area of Warren near North Road and Elm Road.

Newbrough said the reason for that was the city had given the county a “non-negotiable” demand for higher sewer rates for customers in Champion and Lordstown that would raise rates 200 percent to 300 percent for Champion, Lordstown and many other areas in the county by 2023.

But Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka announced Wednesday that the resolution would be on hold because of the meeting.

Polivka said Trumbull County officials, including Trumbull County Engineer and Sanitary Engineer Randy Smith, have “gone above and beyond” to cooperate with Warren on things such as equipment and salt purchases.

“There’s been a good relationship there,” said Polivka, a former Warren council member. Polivka added that the dispute could “put a wedge between the city and the county.”

Polivka said he hopes officials can meet multiple times in the coming weeks to resolve the sewer rate matter.

Mayor Doug Franklin, Law Director Greg Hicks and other city officials attended the meeting, and some discussions took place between Hicks and Newbrough after the meeting.

Tom Angelo, who formerly ran Warren’s waste-treatment program, also participated in the discussion. He is now a consultant to the county sanitary engineer’s office.

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