DETROIT – On Wednesday (Feb. 23), the Great Lakes Water Authority approved hikes to the water and sewer rates for the 2023 fiscal year by a 6-0 vote.
Water will increase by 3.7% and sewer by 2.4%.
“We are a 501c3 water rights organization,” said Meeko Williams. “We are a watchdog. We’ve been to the meetings of the GLWA, the board of water commissioners, and others.”
Williams is with Hydrate Detroit and was one of several people at the virtual meeting to voice their displeasure with even a suggestion of higher water rates.
“I basically said no increase because we cannot afford this,” Williams said. “We are in the middle of a pandemic, we have inflation, and we also have to pay for several service projects with money that we are already going to have to pay for that we don’t have.”
The GLWA says almost half of the sewer increase is a bad debt expense recovery attributed to Highland Park only paying half of its sewer bill from 2012 through 2021.
The surcharge fell to other communities as the GLWA says Highland Park’s outstanding balances continue to grow. But many who spoke at Wednesday’s (Feb. 23) meeting flatly stated that they should not have to pay someone else’s tab.
“We can fight for affordable water across the region and across the state so we can fight for affordable water that we can use, and affordable water that we should benefit from,” Williams said.
Water customers are already paying for bad debt expense recovery for Highland Park’s water services. GLWA says it has paid less than 1% of its bill since 2012. Highland Park disputes that.
GLWA has sued both Highland Park and the State of Michigan over that.