WESTLAKE, Ohio - Around 200 people concerned over a massive hike in their water bills packed Westlake's Recreation Center Wednesday night.
The meeting may have lasted over an hour but Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough needed only a few seconds to make his underlying point.
"The city of Westlake is not going to make any decision on how we get our water, and what type of an agreement we sign if it's going to cost you more money," he said.
It's a point he would make several times throughout the night to ease resident concerns over the letter they received last week from Cleveland Water saying since Westlake was terminating its agreement with them they would be instituting a $291 surcharge on each bill every quarter for five years to recoup their losses.
The only problem,, the mayor said, is they haven't terminated any contract.
"We don't quite understand why they sent the letter, we can only guess," he said.
Since 2007, Westlake has been looking into the feasibility and cost of leaving Cleveland Water and going with another provider. The mayor estimates they've spent around $400,000 over that time to thoroughly study the matter but insists no decision has been made, making the Cleveland Water surcharge pointless.
Most residents were receptive to what the mayor had to say and left feeling they would not be seeing the surcharge come January.
"I don't think it will happen," said Fred Hammond. "I think that's a scare tactic that the city of Cleveland has done, I'm not at all worried about paying that."
If they do get a bill come January his wife added, "we're going to take it over to the mayor."