Detroit City Council votes for 7.5 percent water rate hike

The cost of water is going up by 7.5 percent for all residential and commercial customers in the city of Detroit.

Three weeks ago the council said no to water rate increases but Tuesday was a different story. The City Council voted to approve a water hike by a 5-4 vote. 

Men on the council voted yes, woman voted no.

Gary Brown from Mayor Duggan's office told the council that if the increase did not go through, layoff notices would have to go out and that the city would lose $27 million.

Some are concerned for those that can't pay their water bills now.

During public comment one of the residents said that Duggan's office was giving "conflicting information about whether or not they support any water affordability plan."

Yet affordability was a concern for council.

"It was definitely a tough vote," said Mary Sheffield, councilwoman. "I understand the need for revenue for the department. But I also understand there's waste within the department there's things in the department they need to work on internally to figure out ways to save within the department.

"I have people calling my office constantly who are crying about not being able to pay water bills."

The city agreed to hire an expert to advise counsel on how to deal with water affordability and come back to counsel in nine months with recommendations.

By the end of the year the Great Lakes Water Authority will be handling water all over the city and region. So far, $4 million has been set aside to help residents pay their water bills.

And the city does have plans if you are having trouble paying your water bill.

 Nevertheless, starting August 1st, expect a 7.5 % increase in Detroit water rates.  

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