DETROIT -

The Root Cause Committee and the Board of Water Commissioners, along with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, have signed a "conceptual" agreement in support of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department becoming an independent public authority under the supervision of the BOWC.

The accord provides that the city of Detroit would retain ultimate ownership of the asset and ultimately receive an annual payment in lieu of taxes disbursement currently estimated at $50 million.

"The actions taken today by the Root Cause Committee and the Board of Water Commissioners are an important advancement toward the financial stability of one of the world’s largest water systems," said Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue F. McCormick in a news release.

However, the director cautioned that while significant, this action is only an important first step in restoring "vendor confidence, reassuring bond holders and improving DWSD bond ratings."

"There is still work to be done, not the least of which is securing buy-in from our customer communities," she said.