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Akron Mayor threatens water shut off for Hudson residents, businesses

Plusquellic writes letter to Hudson Mayor William Currin

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published: March 2, 2014 12:00 AM
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Hudson -- A city Council member is suggesting Hudson withdraw from a tax sharing agreement with Akron, in response to Mayor Donald Plusquellic's threat to shut off water to about 25 percent of Hudson residents.

Ward 3 Council member Alex Kelemen, whose constituents have Akron water along Stow Road and Middleton Road, wanted to withdraw from the Summit County Job Creation and Retention and Tax Revenue Sharing agreement and said he may propose legislation March 5 to opt out of the agreement.

"I have a problem signing an [Summit County Job Creation and Retention and Tax Revenue Sharing] agreement with Akron when they are withholding water and cost residents money to drill wells," Kelemen said. "I don't want to give Akron any money potentially."

Plusquellic's office did not return phone calls or respond to emails at press time.

Kelemen said if Hudson refuses to renew the Summit County Job Creation and Retention and Tax Revenue Sharing agreement, it may prompt Summit County to help Hudson with negotiations with the Akron water agreement.

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"They have more clout with Akron than we do, and we're not asking for special treatment. We want the [water] agreement signed and get on with it."

Last year Plusquellic wanted the city of Hudson to sign a water agreement in which the city would pay 33 percent of income tax on new businesses served by Akron's water, said Communications Manager Jody Roberts.

Council did not feel comfortable signing it, Roberts said. As a result, Plusquellic stopped approving tap in water connections for new customers in the area.

"We have a number of residents who are building homes who want to tap in and cannot get water," Roberts said. "He's been holding our citizens hostage over this agreement."

In September 2013 the city reviewed the water agreement and sent Plusquellic an alternate agreement, but he would not respond to Hudson, Roberts said. The details of the alternate agreement were not provided.

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Hudson water customers pay a higher rate than Akron, Stow or Tallmadge, Kelemen said. If Hudson signs the alternate water agreement customers could receive lower water rates, Kelemen said. But Akron won't talk to Hudson, according to Kelemen and Roberts.

Then on Feb. 7, Plusquellic sent a letter to Mayor William Currin. In it Plusquellic wrote he will "refuse to provide new water connections to residential homes or businesses in your city" until a long-term water agreement is signed.

Akron has refused new water connections and won't put fire hydrants on Middleton Road like they did on Stow Road, Kelemen said. The city of Hudson has said they will pay for the fire hydrants.

"And I may be forced because of the 'me too' clauses in our contracts to send a complete shut-off notice to you - just as I had to do with Tallmadge after 25 years of their stalling in our negotiations," Plusquellic wrote in the letter.

Roberts said the city has tried to talk with Plusquellic or his office since September but had no response until the Feb. 7 letter.

At the end of the letter Plusquellic gives permission to his staff to renew negotiations.

"We are optimistic since his staff can negotiate with us that we can come to an amicable agreement that both cities can live with," Roberts said. "It's not that we don't want to sign, but not in the form it was in."

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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