Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson does not like the idea being proposed by city of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr regarding the city of Detroit's water department.
While the idea of a regional authority has been under discussion for some time. On Wednesday, sources said Orr is proposing suburban users lease the water system from the city for $9 billion over a 40-year span.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson stated his reaction bluntly.
"It's DOA. It doesn't have a prayer," Patterson said.
The water system that serves roughly half of the state's population is said to be worth nearly $3 billion dollars.
Patterson said the lease amount proposed by Orr is unreasonable, considering the state of the system.
"They have basically run it into the ground, bankrupted it, put no money into maintenance. That is why the costs go up. They haven't maintained the thing for 100 years," Patterson said.
Patterson supports the idea of a regional authority, which would give suburbs veto power over operations
He said he is ready to talk away from the negotiating table and risk having the water system sold to a private equity firm, which could lead to higher water rates for everybody.
Patterson has a proposal of his own.
"It's about time the state got out of the weeds and played a leadership role, assert themselves and possibly they would be the ones to take control by some type of a state authority. Detroit won't like it but right now 40 percent of Detroiters don't even pay their water bills. That costs us money in the suburbs," Patterson said.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel used language not as harsh as Patterson, but he is skeptical about proposed lease deals for the Detroit water system.
"There better be a cost benefit to Macomb County residents, otherwise we are not going to get involved in any of these deals," Hackel said.
When asked about Patterson's proposal for a state water authority, a spokesman for Kevyn Orr indicated he would not comment because of a confidentiality agreement.