Sewers for Scholarship Dollars
Meeting October 18, 2008
The questions below are separated
into two categories:
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:
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
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
How many students will
What triggers a payback
of the scholarship and what triggers paying Akron City
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
Issue 9 proponents- What are
the alternatives to keeping young people in the community and
continuing their education and continuing Akron’s economic
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
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
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
Please explain the rolling 10
year cap rates and what is “normal operations, maintenance and
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
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
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
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
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.
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