Business owner says Detroit fees too high to open business

A business owner is joining the fight over controversial drainage fees and claims that the city's system doesn't even work.

The Detroit business owner, who calls himself "Tony", says he may never realize his dream of opening an automotive recycling company. The reason, he says, is that the city's water drainage charges are too expensive.

"I don't think anyone would open a business in Detroit had they known about these storm water drainage charges," he said. "I'm being affected by the storm water drainage charges and if I can't get them down or controlled then I won't be opening up a busines."

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Every month, he's charged with high drainage fees and he doesn't understand why - so he's refused to pay.

"Tony" says every month he is charged high drainage fees and he can't understand why so he refuses to pay

"So right now, no, we don't even have water, don't even have a toilet so there's no sewage coming out of this building or water coming in. We're simply being charged for storm water drainage," Tony said.

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He says he should pay $50 but he's actually paying almost $500 each month.

Michael Wiener owns four buildings on nearby Freeland and says his drainage bills don't make any sense either

"The water is off and it cost me over $200 a month for sewerage," he said.

But "Tony" says he's not convinced and believes high drainage fees could be something more

"If you don't pay water bills it gets put on your tax rolls and if you don't pay taxes the county can foreclose on your property. I firmly believe this is a landgrab."

The department of water released a statement:

"Since 1975, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department customers have been charged for drainage as part of their water and sewer bill. Every Detroiter shares the benefits of clean waterways and the responsibility of managing drainage. To assist and educate customers in understanding drainage and drainage-related issues, DWSD has developed a robust drainage website.

"DWSD invites customers to www.detroitmi.gov/drainage. Along with detailed information, the website includes a parcel viewer to assist with identifying specific customer parcels. Customers with drainage questions can also email us at drainage@detroitmi.gov or call (313) 267-8000 and press option 6."


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