Toledo, Ohio

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Toledo, Ohio
Toledo OH seal.png
General information
Paula Hicks-Hudson.jpg
Mayor:Paula Hicks-Hudson
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2013
Next mayoral election:2015
Last city council election:2013
Next city council election:2015
City council seats:12
2014 FY Budget:$650 million
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:282,313
Gender:51.6% Female
Race:White 64.8%
African American 27.2%
Asian 1.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0.4%
Two or More 3.9%
Median household income:$33,374
High school graduation rate:85.0%
College graduation rate:17.1%
Related Toledo offices
Ohio Congressional Delegation
Ohio State Legislature
Ohio state executive offices
Toledo is a city in Ohio and is the seat of Lucas County. As of 2013, its population was 282,313. It is the fourth most populous city in Ohio.[1]

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of Toledo utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body while the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.[2]


The mayor serves as the city's chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.[3] Paula Hicks-Hudson is the current Mayor of Toledo.[4]

City council

The Toledo City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[5]


The Toledo City Council is made up of twelve members. Six are elected by district, while the other six are elected at-large.[6]

A current list of council members can be found here.

Council Committees

The Toledo City Council features Seven standing committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. Generally, the drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.[7]

A current list of Toledo City Council committees can be found here.



See also: Toledo, Ohio municipal elections, 2015

The city of Toledo, Ohio, will hold elections for mayor and city council on November 3, 2015. A primary election election will take place in September 2015. More specific dates on the primary election and filing deadlines will be provided as information is made available. Six councils seats are up for election.[8]

Contact information

Office of the Mayor
One Government Center, Suite 2200
Toledo, OH 43604
Phone: 419-245-1001

City Council
One Government Center, Suite 2120
Toledo, Ohio 43604
Phone: 419-245-1050

To contact individual council members, see here.


Toledo's budget for fiscal year 2014 totals $650 million, of which $244 million constitutes the "General Fund," funds that cover the city's necessary services.[9]


As of August 2014, information on Toledo's federal lobbying related expenses is unavailable.

Ballot measures

See also: Lucas County, Ohio ballot measures

The city of Toledo is in Lucas County. A list of ballot measures in Lucas County is available here.

Notably, Toledo voters will decide the fate of Ohio's first local marijuana decriminalization law on September 15, 2015. The measure, called the "Sensible Marijuana Ordinance," was put on the ballot through a citizen initiative petition backed by a local chapter of NORML.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Ohio

Population as of 2013: 282,313.[10] Toledo is a charter city. It follows the state mandated initiative process for charter amendment, but has its own process for ordinances. Signatures are required from 12% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for Mayor at the most recent general municipal election at which the Mayor was elected. (Toledo Charter, Sec. 75) There were no circulator requirements found in the charter or code. The required content for the petition can be found in the Toledo Charter, Sec. 92-94. Petitions must include the names of 5 electors as proponents. There is no pre-approval process in the charter or code. The process for approval is indirect and the council has 30 days to pass the measure or they shall submit it at the next regular general or primary election occurring not less than 75 days after. Provided that if the council passes an altered version, the petitioners must file an additional petition with 1% of the total number of ballots cast for Members of Council at the preceding municipal election to have the original proposed ordinance submitted to an election. (Toledo Charter, Sec. 76, 77, 83) A simple majority determines the outcome of the election.[11]

Issues in the city

Water Crisis: August 2-4, 2014

Lake Erie. The green areas along the coastlines are algae blooms.

On August 2, 2014, the City of Toledo issued a notice to its citizens warning them not to drink or boil local tap water. The notice claimed that a toxin called microcystin had been found in Lake Erie - Toledo's primary source of potable water - that exceeded the city's recommended one microgram per liter limit. Consuming microcystin can create serious medical problems including abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness.[12] The crisis led Gov. John Kasich (R) to declare a state of emergency and created a major shortage of available drinking water in the Toledo area until the morning of August 4, 2014 when Mayor D. Michael Collins (Ohio) announced that the drinking ban had been lifted.[13][14]

The cause of the abnormally high presence of microcystin in Lake Erie was identified as algae blooms, dramatic and sudden increases in the amount of algae within a body of water.[15] Algae blooms are a regular feature of the Lake Erie eco-system, and it is not unheard of for them to reach dangerous levels and produce heavy amounts of microcystin. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, algae blooms reached historic levels.[16] To combat this problem, the governments of the United States and Canada established the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (henceforth GLWQA) in 1972, an $8 billion project which put in place policies to remove the blooms from the Great Lakes and to keep them contained.[17] Despite the initial success of GLWQA, experts have noted a steady increase in algae blooms in Lake Erie since 2002, with the events of early August 2014 marking a substantial spike. According to studies conducted by the [[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|Environmental Protection Agency]], agricultural runoff – most notably phosphorus, a chemical commonly found in fertilizers – is driving this trend.[18][19] Various solutions have been put forward to curb the effects of agricultural runoff on Lake Erie, ranging from restrictions on how local farmers use fertilizers to more sophisticated filtration systems.[20][21][22] At the time of the drinking ban's removal, no consensus on the issue had emerged.

In Toledo, citizens and government officials alike were caught off guard by the crisis. Toledo’s water treatment plant features an eight-step filtration process, which had never before seen a breach. As of August 5, 2014, how exactly the toxin slipped through this process and what type of testing protocols might be imposed to prevent a future breach remain matters of contention.[23]

See also City of Toledo Preliminary Study on Water Crisis

External links


  1. U.S. Census Website, "State and County QuickFacts: Toledo," accessed on August 4, 2014.
  2. Toledo City Charter, Ch. IV sec. 26 and Ch. V sec. 61, accessed on October 29, 2014
  3. Toledo City Charter, Ch. V sec. 61, accessed on October 29, 2014
  4. City of Toledo, "Office of the Mayor," accessed on October 29, 2014
  5. Toledo City Charter, Ch. IV sec. 26, accessed on October 29, 2014
  6. City of Toledo, "City Council," accessed on October 29, 2014
  7. City of Toledo, "Committees," accessed on October 29, 2014
  8. Lucas County, OH elections, "May 5 Special Election," accessed on April 22, 2015
  9. City of Toledo, "Budget Office," accessed on August 4, 2014
  10. U.S. Census Bureau, "State and County QuickFacts: Toledo," accessed on August 4, 2014.
  11. Toledo City Charter
  12. City of Toledo, “Urgent Water Notice,” August 2, 2014
  13. The Blade, “City of Toledo issues do not drink water advisery,” August 2, 2014
  14. The Blade, “Mayor Collins: our water is safe,” August 4, 2014
  15., “Algal Bloom,” accessed on August 5, 2014
  16. “Why are toxic algae blooms making a comeback in Lake Erie?” August 4, 2014
  17. Environmental Protection Agency, “Lake Erie: Primer,” accessed on August 4, 2014
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named why
  19. Environmental Protection Agency of Ohio, “Task Force: Final Report,” April 2010
  20. Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority, “A Balanced Diet for Lake Erie: Reducing Phosphorus Loadings and Harmful Algal Blooms,” accessed on August 4, 2014
  21. Gagala, Ilona and Joana Mankiewicz-Boczek, “The Natural Degradation of Microcystins in Fresh Water – the Future of Modern Treatment Systems and Water Quality Improvement,” in The Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 21, No. 5 (2012)
  22., “A toxic algae bloom has left 400,000 people in Ohio without drinking water,” August 3, 2014
  23. The Blade, “Water crisis grips area,” August 3, 2014 (dead link)