WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – The battle over a proposed water rate hike in Metro Detroit this summer is getting heated.
At a meeting of the Conference of Western Wayne held on Friday (March 11), leaders blasted the proposal because the rate hike is partially due to the City of Highland Park not paying its bill.
Read: Conference of Western Wayne fights water, sewer rate increases
“If our total cost to operate the system is $100, and we’re short $10 because somebody hasn’t paid -- that’s, accounting rules requires a debt expense and as you said it becomes an operating expense of the system,” a person at the meeting said.
The rate hikes are connected to a $52 million debt owed by Highland Park. A legal battle is currently underway. Now surrounding communities are facing a potential rate increase.
“We need to pay our workers, right? To give you the water that you get. We need to pay our suppliers. We have expenses that are real expenses and we are not for profit, right? We are a governmental entity. So we need the money to be able to run the system,” a person at the meeting said. ‘There are 9,000 people in the city of Highland Park. Individual people. Most of those households are paying their water bills to the city, right? So we’re not going to create a public health crisis over two governmental entities having a charge dispute.”
The Conference of Western Wayne voted not to pay the debt allocation for the City of Highland Park. The debt takes back more than 10 years.