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Akron waterline sprouts headaches for Hudson residents

By LAURA FREEMAN Reporter Published: May 31, 2017 12:00 AM

Hudson Water is a necessity of life, but when water pipes break over and over again, residents need action and several asked city officials and Council members for help May 23 at Town Hall.

Residents of the St. Andrew development in the eastern part of Hudson receive their water from the city of Akron, but the lines frequently break and hydrants are out of service, said one resident.

The homeowner's association of the St. Andrew development wants to work with the city of Akron to find a solution to the problems, she said.

Another resident wanted to know who they needed to contact in the city of Akron to replace out of service hydrants and have the waterline replaced instead of repeated repairs, but no answer was given at the meeting.

Not only do residents have to wait for repairs, the water is damaging the road, driveways and yards, another resident said.

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Council President Hal DeSaussure said the city and Council are aware of the issues with Akron's service and repairs.

"We thought discussions would improve with the change of administration [in Akron] but it's frustratingly slow," he said.

DeSaussure suggested residents could attend an Akron Council meeting and put "political pressure" on the administration.

City Manager Jane Howington said the fire hydrants were inspected by Hudson because they are responsible for structures above ground. Akron is responsible for the problems underground.

The city of Akron provides water for the eastern and northern portions of Hudson for about 1,600 customers.

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In 2013, Hudson wanted to negotiate a water agreement in which then Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic wanted the city to pay 33 percent of income tax on new businesses served by Akron's water. When Hudson Council refused to sign it, Plusquellic stopped approving tap-in water connections for new customers in the Akron water area.

Hudson Council passed legislation to change zoning to permit property owners in the affected area to dig wells because they could not tap into the water lines.

In 2014, Akron began charging a "Hudson Projects Surcharge" on its water bills to approximately 1,600 customers in Hudson. The surcharge added $17.76 per month for residential customers and a 42 percent increase in the water rate for commercial customers.

A complaint filed by Hudson against Akron over the water surcharge was dismissed by Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty on Oct. 30, 2015. The city is appealing the decision.

City officials met with Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan Feb. 2, 2016 to discuss water service.

The meeting was another step toward the goal of completing a water service and tax-sharing agreement between the communities, according to Jody Roberts, communications manager for Hudson.

One of the items discussed at the meeting was the status of water connection requests pending with the city of Akron. Even though no written water service agreement is currently in place, Horrigan agreed that pending service connection requests will be approved for new customers or second meter customers who could not connect to Akron lines.

The current appeal to the first lawsuit against the City of Akron is still in the courts and the city is waiting for the court to move that case forward, Roberts said.

"As stated in the meeting, we've been trying to negotiate on separate issues such as the hydrants with Akron, but have not been successful in getting them to respond at this point," Roberts said. "We are continuing to try to gain Akron's cooperation on the hydrant issue."

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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