Akron officials have abandoned a controversial and first-of-its-kind plan to lease the city’s sewer system after voters defeated the proposal at the polls.

Longtime Mayor Donald Plusquellic first floated the idea of leasing the system and using proceeds to fund a local university scholarship program earlier this year. Opponents gathered enough signatures to require a vote, and in November, voters defeated the plan. Officials said they would no longer pursue either leasing or selling the system or financing a new scholarship program.

“We did not have a plan B,” said public services chief Rick Merolla. “That was it.”

The plan had called for Akron to enter into a lease of its sewer system for up to 99 years to raise an up-front cash windfall of around $250 million.

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