Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 3 PM EST
|Home||Sports||Community||What's Happening||Classifieds||News Summary|
|MARVIN NIEBAUER||NORBERT CAMPBELL|
|RICHARD STEENSON||ROSILEE WARDEN|
|SANDRA CALCATERRA||WANDA JAKUBIAK|
|Browse Full Text...|
Friday, 2 pm
Inserts Friday, Noon
Editorial Monday, Noon
Service Directory Display Monday, 2 pm
Service Directory Liners Monday, 3 pm
Classified Liners All Holiday Deadlines are One Full Workday Earlier
You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/25/13
Sewer rates rise by 30
percent for Bruce Twp.
by CHRIS GRAYBruce residents will see a 30 percent hike in their water bills later this year.
Observer Staff Writer
The Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to increasing the township's sewer rates by 30 percent for all users at its Sept. 18 meeting.
The increase is the first seen since 2011 when some residents saw an increase of up to 42 percent. The average resident will see their bill go up from $85 per quarter to $110 per quarter and will affect the October-December billing cycle.
Supervisor Richard Cory said the decision to raise the rates came from a study conducted by Utility Financial Solutions (UFS). The study determined water and sewer revenue requirements for 2012 to 2016.
"They noted the township's wastewater rates were not significant to maintain the long-term financial health of the wastewater utility," he said.
The target operating income for wastewater is around $240,000 to $260,000 to fully fund the infrastructure. To cover this, UFS recommended rates to increase by 30 percent in 2012, another 30 percent in 2013 and by another 20 percent in 2014.
"Those are huge increases, it's a lot of money, but to make the health of our wastewater utility and the treatment that we do we really need to increase it," Cory said.
He said the increase would result in roughly $48,000 more in revenue for the sewer fund operations.
The township is trying to manage a $5 million sewer debt from the expansion of Romeo's wastewater treatment plant in 2004. A lack of sewer tap sales and few increases to rates has caused the debt to rise over time and create cash flow problems for the sewer fund.
Clerk Susan Brockmann said the new rate doesn't include the savings gained from refinancing the township's sewer bond. However, she said the township is behind by 30 percent in its rates and didn't receive a 30 percent savings from the refinance.
Treasurer Deborah Obrecht said she wanted to see the tap fees increase, bumping them up from $1,400 to $1,600.
"It's supposed to be your tap fees that really are recouping money to pay the bond itself," she said.
Board members were not in favor of raising the tap fee, saying the township hasn't sold any taps and an increase could further deter sales.
"I don't want to mess with that right now, not until we sell some," said Trustee Mark Falker.
Resident Barbara DeMay asked if the 1 percent administration fee charged to residents was going to pay for the bond. Obrecht said the money from the fee covers expenses in the treasurer and assessing department, thereby freeing up money to be used elsewhere.
"We can now cover any costs that previously came out of the general fund money with this 1 percent allocation," she said. "That money . . . can be used for the paving of 34 Mile Road, bond expenses or anything else the board should select to do."
Board members also pointed to a 57,700 square foot skilled nursing facility at 33 Mile and McKay roads that would help alleviate the sewer bond when built. Brockmann said the 106-bed facility would require about 35 taps.
The site plan for the project was approved in September 2012, but has yet to break ground. Cory said there has been some positive movement in the project.
"We know that 33 Mile Road is the key to everything, we're working really hard on it," he said.
Brockmann said a revised site plan for the project will likely come to the Planning Commission in October.