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Water rate hikes stir more criticism

William Warby

Proposed new rates for customers of Detroit’s massive water systemhave done little to tamp down criticism of the department.

Water bills would go up an average of about nine percent in July, and sewer rates would climb a little more than 11 percent.

Water department officials say lower demand is to blame for much of the increase. But critics are not happy about how the rates are calculated. State Representative Kurt Heiserepresents western Wayne County:

"I don’t care if you live in Detroit or Plymouth or Southfield. We’ve got to get a real handle on how these water rates are determined. Do these rates reflect true value, best management practices, fairness in contracting. I think we just need to open up the process more, make it more transparent, and get the customer at the table."

Heise has introduced a billin the state House that would create a regional board to oversee the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Oakland County has asked a federal judge to do something similar.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.
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