Jun 052016

Helping low income seniors and others pay their water bills.

Helping low income seniors and others pay their water bills.

The Toledo City Council has taken a step toward helping low income water users in town to pay their water bill.

The H2O low income water program was actually started last year, but never got the other half of it going – actually qualifying residents who need the assistance. But now they’re rolling.

The council is announcing in everyone’s water bill that if they’re low income they can get help through the Community Services Consortium (CSC) that is collecting donations to help pay the water bills of low income residents. A similar program is being talked about to help low income families with their power bills as well.

The consortium is also in charge of letting everyone know that if they’re not low income and they have a few extra dollars to spare to help a neighbor or two make ends meet on their water bill, there’s a place where they can donate. Again, the information is in everyone’s water bill or you can call CSC at (541) 574-2280 or Toledo City Hall.

To qualify for assistance a household must make no more than 60% of the community’s median income – that median income is around $45,000 – and 60% of that is right at $27,000. So if you make $27,000 a year or less you qualify for up to $100 a year in water bill payment assistance. Right now CSC is taking applications from low income families. There is currently nearly $2,100 in assistance monies in that fund waiting to be allocated to low income households.

Toledo City Councilors don't want this going on close to the town's drinking water. BLM photo

Toledo City Councilors don’t want this going on close to the town’s drinking water.
BLM photo

Enhancing tree growth at Mill Creek Reservoir without using herbicides
The Toledo City Council, sensitive to the recent upwelling of opposition to using herbicides near bodies of water that provide human drinking water, the council took steps to ensure that herbicides are not used near Mill Creek Reservoir.

Thanks to a one year grant, the city will have the funds to manually clear competing plants on the forest floor in areas recently harvested for timber in the Mill Creek area. It’s a five acre parcel along Mill Creek. It is also a site where 1,800 seedling trees will be planted to create another cycle of wood growth in the Mill Creek Watershed. Those seedlings will include Western Hemlock, Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. The manual preparation of the ground for planting will run around $20,000 – roughly $15,000 from a grant, and $5,000 in matching funds from the City of Toledo.

City officials hope that when further plantings are made two and three years out there will be further grants available to manually clear the ground of competing brush to make way for the seedlings that will be planted right after.

With the recent flurry of opposition to forestry herbicide spraying with their wayward clouds of herbicides allegedly making some residents sick, Toldeo city councilors were very supportive of handling tree planting preparations in a way that doesn’t require aerial or ground spraying of herbicides.

Toledo Municipal Pool Old, needs a lot of work, including the roof.

Toledo Municipal Pool
Old, needs a lot of work, including the roof.

Trying to keep the Toledo Pool open while plans are made for a new one.
The Toledo City Council is also trying to figure out how to keep the old Toledo Municipal Pool open until a way can be found to build a new one. One idea is to create a new recreation district stretching far beyond the Toledo city limits to include enough properties to raise enough revenue to build a new pool that hopefully everybody in the new district will want to use and enjoy.

A group of citizens that are focused on a new special recreation taxing district have set a deadline of December 31st for a final plan to be submitted to the city council for consideration. If the plan doesn’t get enough support, it could be the end of the old pool. City staff says the city has many projects that are required to be built for public health and safety and with the pool costing the city a quarter million a year just to operate, that’s a big piece of the city’s annual budget that could be going to other things.

The old pool is literally falling apart to hear some city employees describe it. But if the citizens committee can come up with a plan that has some legs to broaden the pools funding sources, the Toledo area just might get a new pool.

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