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Changes being made to new water deposit policy

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Changes are on the way to a controversial deposit that had home buyers in Toledo scratching their heads.

The Bell Administration revealed last October a new $200 water deposit could not be refunded to new homeowners until after they sold their house.

That could be years.

Now the homeowner will pocket the deposit after twelve months but only if all water bills are paid.

The city planned to use the deposit to repair Toledo's aging water and sewer systems, but bills listing the deposit surprised homeowners.

City council members were flooded with complaints, blind sided by it all because they were never consulted by the Bell Administration.

"I want to make sure that the city is good stewards of all our money. It appears that this is being used as a fee as opposed to a deposit. I think it needs to be a deposit and kept that way," said Councilman Rob Ludeman.

He supports the change.

Mr. Ludeman's public utilities committee will hear from the Bell Administration on Monday.

But he thinks because the water deposit is a spending measure, city council approval is necessary.

"I want to make sure whatever is done is done right. That way we look at the policy that's there now, change it to make it fair and that proper communication with council takes place," said Mr. Ludeman.

Toledo Board of Realtors Chief Executive Megan Foos says the change is great but not enough.

Ms. Foos worries any water deposit could be a momentum killer for an improving Toledo real estate market but will meet with the water department on a quarterly basis.

"We're both up in numbers of transactions and volume for the end of 2012 over 2011. We're hearing January is becoming busier too," said Ms. Foos.

Calls to the Bell Administration by Toledo News Now for comment went unanswered.

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