Meetings 2007-8
Meetings 2008-9

"Sewers for Scholarship Dollars?"

October 18, 2008

Click here to see questions submitted during the meeting

Questions from Sewers for Scholarship Dollars

Town Hall Meeting   October 18, 2008 

The questions below are separated into two categories:

  • Questions submitted after facilitated table discussions

  • Questions submitted by individuals in the audience

Disclaimer: The League of Women Voters of the Akron Area is not responsible for the accuracy of the content or facts contained in the questions. The questions contain the exact wording submitted.   

It was mentioned in an article in the Akron Beacon Journal dated Oct. 19th that both questions and answers to those questions would be posted on our website. The reporter misunderstood what was said at the close of the town hall. The moderator stated only the questions would be posted on our site.  

To find answers to some of these questions you may wish to link to these websites:

Issue 8      http://akronscholarshipplan.com/

Issue 9       http://www.afsc.net/ctsosaw.html 

It is our intent, as a result of posting these questions on our website, that fellow citizens have the opportunity to see what questions were on the minds of those who attended the town hall.  

Facilitated table discussions were held at the town hall, after listening to presentations made by William Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital and Richard Merolla, Director of Public Service for the city of Akron for Issue 8; and by Jack Sombati, Campaign Chairman Ohio Council 8, AFSCME/ Save Our Sewer and Water Committee and Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch for Issue 9.  

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, not all of the questions submitted from the table discussions were asked. If time had allowed us to get through all these questions, then questions submitted by individuals would have been asked. 

Questions submitted after facilitated table discussions 

  • How do you link the scholarship plan with the business community? Meaning, will there be jobs available in the community for college graduates?

  • The Akron Plan covers joint-economic districts. It doesn’t cover other suburban communities that utilize the Akron sewer system and that have paid for the system with their own dollars; why is that?

  • Would there be a cap on taxes paid back to the scholarship program? For instance, for a graduate of the program who became a high income earner vs. a low income earner?

  • Mr. Sombati, you question the fact that this plan is a last dollar plan; what is wrong with the plan picking up the cost above what other monies provide?

  • Mr. Merolla, if hidden cost come to rise, how will these new costs be kept by the lessee at under 3.9% rate increase?

  • Since the city did not require Time Warner Cable to fulfill the obligation to provide public access media equipment and the agreed among of PEG stations, how do the citizens know the city will hold whomever the lessee is to the term of an agreement no one has seen yet?

  • We need scholarship plan details:

    • How many students will benefit?

    • What triggers a payback of the scholarship and what triggers paying Akron City taxes?

    • Will non-residential scholarship recipients be required to pay Akron City taxes?

  • Are there alternatives to funding a scholarship plan? Example: Why not impose a small surtax on current water rates to be earmarked specifically for scholarships?

  • Issue 9 proponents- What are the alternatives to keeping young people in the community and continuing their education and continuing Akron’s economic development?

  • We need lease details:

    • Why is the possible length of the lease 99 years? 99years=sale

    • How can we break the lease if needed?

    • Why the rush to possible lease of the sewers without knowing the details of it?

  • Who is responsible for the 300 or 400 million dollar storm sewer run off....the lessor or the lessee? Who would buy this problem?

  • We've heard about the  failures; Which cities have successfully leased their sewers?

  • What oversight will the city implement over the private operator?

  • How does Issue 9 help or hurt the city? (Ask both sides to answer this question)

  • What is the long term goal to lease the sewer system?

  • Can you give us more specifics in term of the lease, in particular, what is the difference in dollars between net profits and the gross proceeds?

  • Can the operator commit the city to debt for improvements to the system and make spending decisions without oversight that will result in this debt?

  • Can you cover in more detail what happens to the student who accepts the scholarship but either don’t complete their degree or can’t find a job in this area?

  • What is the oversight structure? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? If the lessee breaches the agreement what is the city’s recourse? Can we cancel/terminate the lease and what is the cost?

  • Why not look and another way to fund scholarships?

  • Why lease out to a private company at this time; why take the risk?

  • How do we safeguard/protect the investments with Akron Community Foundation?     Why would a company want to invest in an entity that will take 83 years to realize the profit?

  • Please explain the rolling 10 year cap rates and what is “normal operations, maintenance and capital improvements”.

  • How will we insure that a private operator comply with EPA standards?

  • What is the distinction between Issue 8 and Issue 9? How do they affect each other?

  • Based on the proposed charter change, who is eligible or not eligible regarding home schooled and charter/community school students?

  • How will Akron be able to prevail against a large multi-national corp if they breach the lease?

  • If lack of jobs force scholarship recipients to leave the area, will they still have to repay the scholarship dollars and how will the city track the students?

  • Mr. Merolla, seven years ago a study was conducted by the city of Akron showing privatization would be too expensive, what happened to that study? 

*Questions submitted by individuals in the audience

  • What changes could be made to the mayor’s plan which would make it acceptable to the present opponents?

  • Mr. Merolla, if issue 8 passes, how much of a pay increase, bonus or increased fringe benefits will you personally receive?

  • What private companies are interested in leasing our sewer system at this present time?

  • Why make everybody pay to send more students to college when they would be better off going to work?

  • Why doesn’t the mayor use his influence to use the private sector to raise money?

  • Besides Richfield has this system been used in other Ohio cities that we can look at?

  • What will happen if both issues pass?

  • Will the scholarship stipulate your GPA and end it you get a low GPA?

  • Is there anything that actually is required for the student to qualify for the scholarship, everyone seems to qualify for the scholarship?

* Statements made my individuals on note cards submitted are not included here. Only questions written at the time of the forum were included.

return to top

  Disclaimer Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved by LWVAA