Customers in suburbs can expect to see increased water, sewage fees

Water bills
Water bills

DETROIT – Brace yourself for higher prices each time you turn on the faucet.

While Detroit's water system takes center stage in Lansing, Local 4 has obtained inside information, showing just how arbitrary your bills are.

In the words of one insider, "No matter what happens in the end with Detroit's water system, suburban customers are going to pay more."

Detroit's water system and how it's run and what it charges has been a battle for years. Now, with Detroit in Chapter 9 bankruptcy and the water system one of the few assets the city has that is worth big big bucks, the battle over whether to make it a regional authority has been loud, ugly and so far, not going anywhere.

An internal audit of the system obtained by Local 4 shows rates for suburban customers are all over the place.

The fees communities charge their water and sewer customers are higher than the fee charged to the communities by the Detroit water and sewer department because of a variety of factors, whether it's maintenance of the system, upkeep taps or reservoirs.

Here's a look at what two communities are paying:

Beverly Hills pays $32.39 per 1,000 gallons, while Farmington Hills pays $17.60 per 1,000 gallons.

With that as the backdrop, Oakland County Executive l Brooks Patterson said Detroit hasn't seen anything yet.

While Lansing is set to vote on a $194 million bailout for Detroit Thursday, Patterson sent an urgent memo to the Oakland County Board of Commissioners stating, "The city's current plan calls for the city to impose accelerated funding for pension obligations only on DWSD rate payers. For your rate payers, however, it is a $40 -50 million annual increase. They are about to be taken advantage of in a big way."

About the Author: