Detroit regional water authority deadline approaching

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - It's the deal that's been dead more times than not, but we are just days away from the June 14 deadline to say yay or nay to a regional water authority that would govern the Detroit water system.

The secret negotiations have been ongoing for months, and not everyone is delighted. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is on record saying he doesn't like the deal and he doesn't like the process.

Now, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans tells us he thinks it will be a go.

"I'm comfortable we can get it done—a lot of posturing going on," Evans said.

It would take two votes to crush the regional water deal. Tonight, sources close to the process tell us they believe enough votes are there to make it go.

Detroit's water system, how it's run and what it charges have been a bone of regional contention for decades. There's plenty of distrust here, as the negotiations are held in secret. Those in the inner circle of the negotiations tell us the reality is water rates are going to go up whether there is a regional authority or not. If the deal goes through, suburban concerns will have a voice at the table in how those rates are set.

The federal judge overseeing the process has put a gag order on the participants. Evans won't go into details.

"I have worries but not sleepless nights," he said. "I think we'll get it done, I think of the four players that have to make a decision here, I've got enough faith in all four of them that they've got a lot invested in this. We may have some differences, but we'll work them out."

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