Although the Norton City Council made progress Monday toward a sewer project in the Nash Heights area, the city took a backward step the next day. On Tuesday, voters elected four new City Council members, tossing out three incumbents and ensuring a four-vote majority opposed to needed infrastructure improvements.
Refighting old battles long has been the norm in Norton, its development stymied by inadequate water and sewer lines. On Dec. 10, voters will face another proposed charter amendment, this one capping the amount residents could be charged for water and sewer projects.
That follows the defeat in August of an amendment that would have halted all assessments and capped water and sewer bills at $35 a month. Such amendments would cripple the city’s finances, hurting all residents, with households in Nash Heights standing to gain the most.
Even if the second proposal fails, the new majority on the City Council is likely to engage in another round of anti-sewer debate. That would be most unproductive, the city facing an order from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to install sewers in Nash Heights, where old septic systems are fouling waterways.
Led by Don Nicolard, the council president who was ousted from his seat in Ward 2, a majority of the body has moved in the right direction, mobilizing to defeat the August issue and coming to grips with Norton’s longstanding need to expand its infrastructure and attract new development. That progress now appears very much in jeopardy, affecting the future of the whole city.