Highland Park resolves $55M water debt after governor signs relief package

Money that will bail out Highland Park from a massive water bill, while helping replace the city's century-old infrastructure, was signed by the Michigan governor on Monday.

Facing tens of millions of dollars in outstanding water bills from the Great Lakes Water Authority, Highland Park approved a deal brokered between them and the water regulator in October. The deal includes dismissing GLWA's lawsuit against Highland Park, as well as a $24 million judgment ordered by a court.

Under the deal, the state agrees to fund major fixes to the community's water systems while GLWA would get $30 million in grants for improvements.

"Access to water is critical for every Michigan community. By sending state funding to fix Highland Park’s water infrastructure, we are moving the whole GLWA system toward a stronger, more fiscally sustainable future," said state Sen. Stephanie Chang. "Highland Park residents have long called for a resolution to this issue and I am very proud to have been a part of making this happen."

The deal was signed by Gretchen Whitmer under a larger slice of legislation that funds education and wipes away school district debt in Inkster, Pontiac, Ypsilanti, as well as Benton Harbor and Muskegon Heights.

HB 4292 cleared the Michigan Senate in early November. 


3 Highland Park City Council members walk out of meeting as residents wait for overdue water bill update

As Highland Park residents waited for an update on overdue water bill mediation, three City Council members walked out of Monday's meeting. The city owes about $19 million in unpaid water bills.