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Ohio Politics

Akron moves forward with controversial sewer work

By Doug Published: April 5, 2011

Members of council debate whether city should delay projects until lawsuit is settled

By Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal staff writer

Akron is moving ahead with two sewer projects, despite continued murkiness about the city's sewer overhaul.

The City Council voted Monday to proceed with the projects over the objections of council members who thought the work should be delayed until a federal environmental lawsuit is settled.

''Because we are in legal limbo, we should not be spending any taxpayer money on any projects,'' said Councilman Mike Williams, who is running against Mayor Don Plusquellic this year.

The two projects, which total about $5.2 million, involve the separation of the sanitary and stormwater sewers in two areas of the city.

After a lengthy and heated debate, Councilmen Bruce Kilby and Russel Neal joined Williams in voting against the legislation for the first project. Kilby and Williams were the lone ''no'' votes against the legislation for the second project.

Akron isn't sure whether the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which is part of the lawsuit, along with the federal EPA, will approve permits for the projects.

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