COLUMBUS – Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D–Boardman) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4), a bipartisan resolution to address water quality issues throughout Ohio. The resolution would permit the state to issue bonds for sewer and water capital improvements for municipal corporations, counties, townships and other governmental entities. The resolution is identical to Senator Schiavoni’s widely supported Senate Joint Resolution 3, which received hearings – but no vote – in the 131st General Assembly.
If Ohio voters approve this resolution, the General Assembly would be able to authorize up to $100 million per fiscal year over a 10-year period for sewer and water capital improvements, for a total investment of $1 billion.
This plan would not raise taxes.
“Ohio’s underground infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly,” said Leader Schiavoni. “Current funding sources cannot keep up with the rising costs of critical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. This resolution would help our communities make these much needed improvements.”
Ohio business and community leaders expressed support for the senator’s bill.
John McNally, Mayor of the City of Youngstown:
“Sewer and water capital improvement assistance is needed all over the State of Ohio, especially in a city like Youngstown. Faced with over 750 miles of water lines to constantly maintain and a $148 million EPA consent decree, Youngstown must also deal with federal and state loan/grant programs that are not responsive to the needs of our citizens. Additional capital funding contained within the limitations of the State’s constitutional debt cap will provide funding needed by our urban areas to deal with the laudable health goals contained within federal clean water laws.”
Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO:
“Measures like SJR 4 will employ thousands of skilled workers while making desperately needed investment in our infrastructure. Putting Ohio’s tradesmen and women to work in order to rebuild the state’s water and sewer infrastructure will have a tremendous, positive impact on our local economies. We stand together with Senator Schiavoni in creating new jobs and protecting our communities affected by crumbling infrastructure.”
Senate Joint Resolution 4 has bipartisan co-sponsors. It has received positive feedback from groups and organizations concerned about protecting our drinking water and Ohio’s lakes and streams. The resolution also has the support of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
Senator Schiavoni is currently drafting legislation to complement SJR 4 that will address green infrastructure needs.
Watch the senator discuss this legislation here.