Historic chuch gets bill 100 years in the making

A historic Detroit church is facing an extra bill each month after the city discovered they haven't paid for water drainage supplied by the city.

- A historic Detroit church is being hit with a huge bill that's 100 years in the making by the city. It's part of the city's plan to attempt to tap into some long forgotten cash.

It's the only Hungarian Catholic Church in Michigan. Founded in 1905, Holy Cross is currently home to about 475 parishioners and has been doing everything right in the Delray section of southwest Detroit for almost 100 years.

Until Now.

"We have no problem until this moment, we are shocked that we have to pay extra," Holy Cross Friar Barnabas said.

The city is telling the church to pay up - to the tune of $2,500 a month. The city seems to have found some 20,000 parcels of property that were never billed for water drainage. One of those parcels is Holy Cross.

According to Drainage Change Program Manager Eric Rothstein, the city spends $125 million a year to contain storm water. The city says these discovered parcels account for about $8 million of additional revenue for the city's water department.

"Everybody's been paying, but these parcels," Rothstein said. "There are lots of reasons why an account may not have billed."

Those reasons don't matter and the water department is going after the properties.

"It's hard to say they got a break insofar if they didn't get the bill, it's not a question of them not paying something they didn'get a bill for," Rothstein said.

While he wouldn't say they got a break for the past century, the church may have gotten one now. The city could go back and collect for the past six years but they're not. The collection will start in October.

"We would like to turn around to people to help us and officials to help us maintain this issue. It's probably not only causing problems for us but all other, especially smaller, churches," the Friar said.

The city has programs to help with these bills and says it will work with the property owners.

As for Holy Cross - they're not going anywhere.


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