Michigan Supreme Court says Highland Park must pay unpaid water, sewer bills

City owes over $20 million in unpaid fees, interest

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – The Michigan Supreme court has upheld an order requiring the city of Highland Park to pay more than $20 million in unpaid fees and interest to the Great Lakes Water Authority.

On Tuesday, April 4, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected the city’s appeal of a 2022 ruling requiring them to pay. A spokesperson for Macomb County acknowledged the ruling, saying the city is exploring all options and has no further comment at the time.

From 2022: Highland Park ordered to pay $21M water bill: ‘This is just devastating’

Officials in Macomb County are applauding the state Supreme Court’s decision.

“Everyone’s willing to help out their neighbors, but at some point in time, you’ve got to help yourself out,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

In 2012, Highland Park stopped paying the Great Lakes Water Authority for water and sewer services, which caused rate increases in other communities to cover the debt. Dozens of communities in Macomb County and Metro Detroit saw their rates rise due to Highland Park not paying its bills.

“We try to figure out how to keep those rates reasonable, but when you start realizing the cost that you’re paying as a ratepayer is for another community that’s not paying, it becomes frustrating,” Hackel said.

More on this story: Judge: Highland Park must repay debt to Great Lakes Water Authority

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.