Earlier this year, the City of Norton discovered failing septic systems that were dumping human waste into ditches that lead to a $60 million project to extend the current sewer. In doing so, the failing septic systems would no longer be used and residents would hook into the cities sewer system that would cost $20,000-$30,000 per property.
Suggested EPA mandates say residents in Norton should take measures to eliminate those aging septic systems.
As of now, Norton has put the renovations on hold as it reviews the financial requirements, but City Council President Don Nicolard tells AkronNewsNow that it's "part of a natural growth cycle we (the City of Norton) need to go through."
Non-profit groups like "Citizens-for-Norton" have been outwardly opposed to the sewer that has been claimed to be a money generating venture. Some residents believe it would be cheaper for the failing septic systems to be repaired instead of becoming a part of the city sewer.
There were four different town hall meetings held that allowed residents to ask questions and hear updates on the project where Norton administration were absent.
In the interview with Nicolard, he raised concerns about splitting the community up when it needs to be coming together.
"What we are doing with all this in-fighting among council and the people that are opposed to the sewer, we are driving a wedge down the center of this city that is never ever going to be healed if we don't start working together," Nicolard said.
Norton residents are none too happy about the possibility that they'll have to pay higher rates by tapping into the city's sewer system.
Nikki Scott said she was in shock when she heard the news that rates could be going up.
"Norton is a old town," she says, referring to many the senior citizens in the community.
"We just can't afford it if they (the sewer rates) go up any more."
A town meeting was held at the Norton Community Center Thursday evening, which served as the forum for many of those in attendance to voice their opinion on this ongoing issue.
Ira Jackson says that he's upset because this effects those who are on a fixed income.
"These costs would be way too high and residents can't afford this at this time," Jackson explained.
The residents are deeply concerned about the suggested EPA mandates saying those who live in Norton eliminate their current aging septic systems and hook up to the city's system, which will cost an average of $20-30 thousand dollars per property.
Bob Krosnick says simply, that's too much.
"There's got to be a less expensive way to deal with this, we got to have some kind of government money coming in someplace," Krosnick said.
Attorney Steve Fannin with the group Citizens for Norton says given this economic climate, a rate change would be too much for most people to bear.
Steve Fannin-Citizens For Norton by Akron NewsNow
Since the $60 million dollar project was introduced earlier this year, those affected have been coming in droves to City Council meetings in Norton to voice their displeasure on the proposed rate hikes.
Audrey Kornacki says Norton city officials sprung this on people and that it's unfair.
"It's ridiculous, and it should never have brought it up in the first place," Kornacki said.
"They're trying to do it without the people's consent, its what they want to do."
Norton city leaders say the mandate to update the sewers was put in place after it was found that the septic systems started dumping human waste into ditches.
The sewer rate issue will be examined by the administration and Norton City Council before going to a vote at a later date.
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