The city of North Canton could soon be a provider of water for a few Plain Township neighborhoods.
But what's that mean for North Canton residents?
Their rates may go down because, as City Council President Jon Snyder put it at a public hearing Monday morning, "the more our ability to sell, the greater our ability to hold the inside rates lower."
North Canton City Council had after some council members said rates were too steep and were projected to increase too far into the future.
Snyder led a public meeting Wednesday morning inside City Hall and discussed the selling of water to Plain Township with City Administrator Michael Grimes, City Engineer Jim Benekos, Councilman-at-Large Dan Griffith, Finance Director Karen Alger, Law Director Hans Nilges, Plain Township Administrator Lisa Campbell and Scott Haws, Plain Township trustee and board president.
Snyder said he's unsure right now how much money the city could save by selling water to the township, or how exactly that savings would trickle down to residents.
But he said he's encouraged by the response and cooperation from Plain Township officials in discussing the issue.
"This is real local government at its best," Snyder said of the meeting.
Those at the meeting also discussed the concerns they've heard from Plain Township residents who are growing fearful of fracking — a technique used to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals — and the possibility of chemicals contaminating their water.
Snyder said the city has the ability to service those Plain Township residents who would want city water, as the city uses not even half of what it's capable of processing each day. The treatment plant can process 12 million gallons of water a day; usually it handles no more than 5 million gallons a day.
It's too early to determine what the initial costs would be to the city, though. The city would, in some cases, need to extend water lines to connect some Plain Township residents who are being considered for North Canton water. Plain officials are looking at areas off Applegrove Street NE and Orion Street NW.
(You can see a map of those exact neighborhoods in the accompanying photos. Areas up for consideration are highlighted in yellow.)
Now Plain Township officials will discuss the deal within the week and meet with North Canton officials within the next few weeks.