Rogers Bill Giving Local Communities Options To Address Aging Infrastructure Passes House
House Bill 422 increases flexibility, affordability of financing water system upgrades
February 28, 2018
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State Representative John M. Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) today hailed the house passage of House Bill (HB) 422, which allows the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to approve the purchase of a municipal water-works or sewage disposal system company. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Rogers and state Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem), permits PUCO to evaluate a water works system so that, if a municipality should choose to sell its water works, it is not deprived from receiving the fair market value for the facility. The bill has the support of the Ohio Municipal League, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Aqua Ohio Inc.

According to Rogers, the legislation gives municipalities another tool to use in order to ensure that their communities can afford to maintain safe and reliable water and waste water systems.

“From my 18 years serving as mayor of Mentor-on-the-Lake, I am keenly aware of the challenges faced by many smaller communities to address infrastructure issues including water and waste-water treatment facilities,” said Rep. Rogers. “Due to population and size, many small towns cannot afford to upgrade their decades-old infrastructure to meet new health, consumer safety and environmental standards.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there will be at least $12 billion needed for infrastructure projects involving water, and another $14 billion plus necessary for wastewater system upgrades in Ohio during the next 20 years.

Similar legislation has been successfully implemented in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri and California.

“HB 422 removes a procedural roadblock in Ohio’s Revised Code that restricts our regulatory framework from recognizing fair market values,” said Rogers. “This legislation will provide communities the freedom needed to find the necessary resources to replace aging infrastructure, while also keeping the Public Utilities Commission in the picture to ensure that any purchase is in the public interest.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

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