West Side News

Water, sewer rates spur grassroots effort

Prairie Township residents want to prepare message for Franklin County officials


Concern over high sewer and water rates has prompted some residents of Prairie Township to plan a community meeting in the hope of facilitating discussions with Franklin County officials.

The meeting is slated for 7 p.m. May 23 at the Prairie Township Fire Station, 123 Inah Ave.

"A community member has asked the trustees to support her efforts," Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said.

"This is a grassroots effort to engage county officials in discussion about water rates."

Hatmaker said residents in the eastern portion of the township are seeking a dialogue with Franklin County officials regarding water and sewer rates.

Trustee Steve Kennedy said the board also has sought discussions with county officials regarding the matter and supports similar efforts by residents.

The purpose of the May 23 meeting is to organize efforts to share residents' concerns with county officials.

In 2012, Franklin County Sanitary Engineer customers in the township and other portions of Franklin County experienced a 30-percent increase in their water and sewer rates, Kennedy said.

"This much of an increase takes a big chunk out of the paychecks of the Franklin County customers in Prairie Township and elsewhere in the county," he said.

Resident Marsha Goble, who is leading the organizing effort, said the increase has been hard on the whole community.

"This issue not only affects current residents, but impacts future businesses opening in the township, and home sales," Goble said.

"Many of the retired residents aren't able to maintain their homes, pay utility increases, buy food and medication."

Hatmaker said Prairie Township does not have direct control of the water and sewer system; however, township officials work with the county on projects related to that system, he said. Currently, the township and the county are cooperating so that an aging water line along Beacon Hill Road can be replaced as part of an Ohio Public Works Commission-funded street-improvement project.