Water rates to increase in Detroit, suburbs but some say not without a fight

 Water rates are going up in Detroit and the suburbs.

The plan is rates will be going up 16 percent in the city and about 11 percent in the suburbs for water - and many residents of both are not happy.

Sewer rates will be going up 16.7 percent and 3.4 percent in water. But the city of Detroit which controls the rates, says it is not an increase but a cost adjustment. 

Some communities will have increases, some decreases - depending on how they have estimated their use. 

"On average the suburban wholesale portion of their budgets will go up 6.4 percent," said Sue McCormick, the director of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

"Right now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is making that determination based upon the revenue that's needed," said Mark Hackel, Macomb County executive. "I don't know if it is fair or not."

FOX 2: "Do you think Detroit is holding back information?"

"I don't know," Hackel said. "I don't know if it's intentional or unintentional. The reality is, we weren't getting a lot of information. Right now we are seeing rates going up.

"It is very difficult for people to accept and I don't blame them."

FOX 2: "Did Mark Hackel do his homework?"

McCormick: "I think he misunderstands,"

The board of water commissioners will make a recommendation to hike the rates for both water and sewer. 

Ultimately, the decision is up to the Detroit City Council which must approve the rate change. 

"This (wouldn't be) what we were promised when we entered into the agreement at no more than four percent a year," said George Cushingberry of the Detroit City Council. "There will have to be some significant scrutiny on that. And most of us won't want to hear it because that's not what we were promised."

The four percent cap on water increases that was part of the Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit's bankruptcy, does not take effect until July.

Still the increases are hard to justify, some say.

"Moving forward, are the numbers currently that are in place, real numbers and do they add up," Hackel said. "Assumptions versus reality, well I guess we're starting to find the reality."
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