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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Continues to Fight for Akron Ratepayers During Unprecedented Health Crisis

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 03-27-2020

Akron, Ohio, March 27, 2020 – Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan filed a notice of appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Judge John Adams’ troublesome appointment of an “expert” in the City’s ongoing consent decree litigation.  In a January 27, 2020 order, Judge Adams appointed Professor Craig Johnston at a rate of $550 per hour to provide unrestricted oversight on an ongoing basis, despite the United States and Ohio EPAs already providing oversight on the consent decree. The order also allows Johnston to engage two more persons to assist him. This appointment is unnecessary and costly for Akron ratepayers.

When asked by the U.S. EPA to clarify the purpose and scope of Prof. Johnston’s appointment, Judge Adams stated in a February 25 order that “the Court cannot give a bright line end date to his appointment.” And “the Court cannot place a precise estimate on the time that Professor Johnston may devote to completing his tasks.”  According to the order, Prof. Johnston would “opine on several areas” with the help of two other former-EPA professionals, and the Court refused to limit their review to only the current Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) project.  There is no dispute or proposed amendment to the decree pending before the Court at this time.  All completed projects under the decree have been completed at or ahead of schedule. 

“We continue –even during an unprecedented health crisis—to move this project forward as quickly as possible,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.  The City continues to work diligently with the Ohio and US EPAs to address any concerns about the schedule for the OCIT, and ongoing compliance with Akron’s uniquely burdensome consent decree.  “At this time, the appointment of a costly expert is wholly unnecessary, and will provide no added value to the citizens of Akron in completing the work, or reducing the overall cost,” Mayor Horrigan continued.  “Two agencies currently monitor this project. We simply cannot stand by and allow Akron ratepayers to foot the bill for any unnecessary costs.”

Meanwhile, the largest construction project in the City’s history – the 27ft. diameter and 6,240 ft. long Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel — is quickly nearing completion.  The tunnel is officially online and taking water.  On March 9th, crews were able to tie in 30% of the flow to the tunnel.  An additional 55% of flow is scheduled to be connected by the middle of May, with a completion date of this June. 

Mayor Horrigan continues to fight for changes to projects and financing that will save ratepayers money while upholding Akron’s commitment to a clean environment; and construction crews continue to make progress daily.  For more information please visit www.akronwaterwaysrenewed.com.  

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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