NEORSD Storm Water Fee (Tax)-Will You Revolt Or Accept It?
On November 19, 2008, we first learned about the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) plans to tax Summit County residents and businesses for storm water runoff. The Cuyahoga County based NEORSD proposed to charge residents $2.85 to $8.55 per month and substantially more for businesses, based on the impervious surfaces of each property. NEORSD would reap about $8 Million a year from Summit County but only return about seven percent. This group has nothing to do with your current sewer and water utilities.
Since this taxation plan was first unveiled, NEORSD has not specified exactly where, either in Cuyahoga County or Summit County, all these millions will be going. And since then we have been opposed to this extortion that NEORSD is planning for all of us.
The opposition to this plan continued to grow throughout 2009. In November, Summit County Prosecutor, Sherri Bevan Walsh stated the following in a letter to NEORSD:
“Please be advised that pursuant to R.C. 6117.01(c), Summit County has designated the Summit County Engineer as the proper authority in charge of storm water management in Summit County. YOUR ORGANIZATION DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO IMPOSE REGULATIONS UPON SUMMIT COUNTY RESIDENTS FOR STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – rather your authority ends with your sewer district duties.”
Early this year Summit County filed a lawsuit against NEORSD, which is currently pending. In February the northern Summit County communities nominated Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta to sit on the NEORSD board of directors to be the only Summit County representative. Mayor Kuchta was turned down by the
exclusively Cuyahoga County body! They REFUSED to allow Summit County representation on their board!
On April 6th (2010), despite pending court action, NEORSD sent Summit County Representatives their “Draft Stormwater Fee Credit Policy Manual.” YOU the residents are now referred to as “ACCOUNT HOLDERS.” They are still planning to bill you for this un-voted taxation without representation. The bills, due sometime in July, will be separate bills and will not be included with any other utility bill. I am not aware of any specific plans from NEORSD of what benefits, if any, that Summit County would receive for their $8 Million in this windfall tax revenue. I also question the unfair selectivity of NEORSD’s plan because the Cuyahoga River watershed covers much more than a few of northern Summit County’s communities. Why aren’t cities like Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Twinsburg, etc being assessed this taxation? ALL of their storm water ends up in the Cuyahoga River just like ours! The largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River is Tinkers Creek and its headwaters is in Streetsboro in Portage County so why aren’t they being included in this ripoff?
NEORSD’s planned taxation is not only taxation without representation, it is also SELECTIVE taxation. This was NEVER voted on by anyone in Summit County and no specific return in services for Summit County has been defined by NEORSD!
This is all wrong and July is just around the corner. You folks just cannot ignore this any longer. It is time to stand up and tell them and your elected representatives exactly what you think about this and what YOU plan to do about it! Do you plan to blindly pay the bill? Send it back? Ignore it?
Believe it or not, NEORSD is soliciting comments and wants to hear from their “Account Holders” (YOU) by May 10th. You are invited to contact their “Manager of Watershed Technical Support” Betsy Yingling at:
I encourage you to copy your comments to your local elected representatives and newspapers – ALL OF THEM! The NEORSD’s April 6th letter was addressed to me so be sure to copy me on your comments so that I can properly express your feelings on an ‘official’ basis!
There will be more information to come on this issue so STAY TUNED!
(Note from Tristan: I took the last two weeks to regroup from Dare To Dream so I could take a close look at everything that is happening politically and socially. Upon taking that look, I found this local issue for Northeast Ohio. Since this affects myself and many of my friends, I couldn’t let it pass un-noticed. Thanks to Paul for permission to reprint his article and a DTD post will follow. Dare To Dream post on this issue can be read at this link.)