A plan by Akron Mayor Mark Plusquellic to sell or lease the city’s sewer system to fund a scholarship program for local high school graduates hit a possible roadblock last week when opponents presented a petition containing more than 5,000 signatures asking that voters be allowed to weigh in on the action.

The grassroots coalition consisting of union workers — many of whom are employed by the utility — and Akron citizens have said they are concerned that privatizing the sewer system would lead to higher rates and declining performance. The petitions contain more than double the amount of signatures needed to put a referendum on the November ballot seeking to amend the city charter to require a public vote on any attempt to sell or lease a public utility.

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