Presutto Advocates Fair Solutions To Sewer Upgrade Costs
Lakewood needs to comply with the Clean Water Act, and prevent untreated wastewater from overflowing into Lake Erie. City council candidate Brad Presutto says he fully supports this goal.
But affordability and fairness need to guide the city in achieving that goal, says Presutto, who is running to represent Lakewood Ward 2.
“As a community, we need to work out ways to do so without putting the entire burden in residents’ water/sewer bills, or billing homeowners for the entire cost of upgrading infrastructure built before they even saw their home,” he says.
Upgrades already made or approved could raise the average home’s water and sewer fee to nearly $205/month, according to the city’s forecasts. Because a complete upgrade may eventually cost a further $300 million, Presutto says that paying for it all with rate increases won’t work for residents.
“We want our city to be an affordable place to live for people at every stage of life and should consider limiting future increases for those on fixed incomes, such as Social Security and disability," he says.
Presutto says that funding infrastructure upgrades should account for all of the factors which increase storm surges and wastewater. “As we evaluate proposed development, we need to insist on green infrastructure like bio swales & rain barrels—and on grey technology like storage basins, especially when development will create additional runoff from parking lots.” He adds that vehicles passing through, on state and federal highways, contribute to polluted water that Lakewood ends up on the hook for treating; “there is a valid claim for state and federal funds to help meet the strain” and the city should take any opportunity to request some help.
Ultimately, local government has a responsibility to be creative in looking for solutions, says Presutto. As one further example, he cites how Portland, Oregon, fit turbines within the city’s large pipes, to convert the energy of flowing water into electricity. Lakewood’s own gravity-fed water infrastructure might offer similar possibilities, he says.
“Ideas like these are what I would like to introduce when I am on Lakewood City Council,” Presutto says. “Effort and creativity in looking at this problem can help make our community affordable for all.”