Washington Twp. residents pushed to boiling point over water rate hike

Political tension has been rising for some time in Washington township and residents say recent hikes in their water bills have pushed them over the boiling point. 

Macomb County Sheriff's deputies were called to the Washington Township town hall to ease tensions between both sides that have been involved in an enduring political stalemate recently over the hikes.  

A regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting was canceled Wednesday amid backlash from residents, who are outraged after seeing a 40% hike in their water bills this cycle. 

Resident Brandon Noll says he lives on just about a quarter of an acre, a little less, and his water bill is about $330.

Instead of holding the regular scheduled board meeting, to try and provide some explanations, township supervisor Dan O'Leary held a presentation explaining the reasons behind the hike and added service fee, putting the blame largely on the Detroit water system ran by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

"We had a 25% increase from Detroit Water and Sewer back in July of 2015 that didn't affect the April to May period that these people are now getting billed on, it didn't affect last year's, it affected this year's," explained O'Leary. 

Washington township is one of the highest charged municipalities by the Detrot Water and Sewerage Department because the town is located so far away from where the water in sourced, causing a high strain on the system in peak times. 

Some residents left the meeting reassured. 

Resident Fred Hale says he understands. "I understand why the water bills are high. That was explained."

Others still walked away with more questions about some of the added service fees.

The township supervisor says they have constructed a new water tower that will take some of the stress off the water system and help lower rates in the next billing cycle but until then residents will be forced to pay their current water bills.