Patterson on Detroit water: No deal better than bad deal

Oakland County executive delivers State of County speech, makes it clear he's not interested in Detroit water deal

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

PONTIAC, Mich. - There were some surprises -- and some funny ones at that -- but more than anything, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson drew a line in the sand Wednesday night when it comes to a major deal with Detroit.

After a debilitating car accident this past year, Patterson walked up to the podium himself to deliver his State of the County address. He couldn't help poking a little fun right off the top.

"After the month I just experienced, all I can say is thank God for George Cushingberry," he said.

He referenced a very unflattering profile in The New Yorker magazine and gave his final word on the article.

"Let me be absolutely clear about one thing tonight: I'm an unabashed Oakland County booster, not a Detroit basher, OK?" he said.

That doesn't mean Oakland County is going to sign onto a deal with Detroit's water and sewerage department. Negotiations are ongoing and Patterson doesn't like what he sees.

"The system is suffering from decades of neglect and will require billions in maintenance and EPA conforming upgrades," he said.

Patterson says the deal Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is offering means rates go up and the counties will be on the hook for the water department's debts and upgrades.

More: L. Brooks Patterson blasts Orr's regional water plan

"I made that one rule. Remember, no deal is better than a bad deal," said Patterson.

He went as far as saying he is instructing his top deputies to take a look at all the options including establishing a water authority in Oakland County and shovel millions of dollars into it instead of Detroit's department.

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