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Green Party Protests Water Cost Hikes

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

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A protest rally aimed at stopping a proposed water rate hike was held in front Cleveland City Hall Monday evening. Ideastream's Rick Jackson reports.

The impromptu protest was being spurred by the Green Party of Cuyahoga County - whose members are upset about a planned rate hike for 460 thousand water department customers across Northeast Ohio.  The increase is part of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s balanced budget spending plan for this year.

David Ellison:
“I’d like some assurance from them that they will not just rubber-stamp the rate increase, that they will look into the rationale and the justification for the rate increase and they’ll bring some accountability to the division of water so that we can get better service and reliable billing...”

The city’s water department services not only Cleveland, but more than five dozen regional municipalities, all of whom would feel the impact of the rate hike.

The increase would raise a reported $15 million for the water department, but Cleveland city council members say they were unaware of the planned hike before Friday.

Several members have told reporters they would not vote for the increase, but expect it to pass regardless.

The protesters also plan to call for the resignation of current department head Barry Withers.

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