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Posted: 07/02/14

Washington, Romeo to
discuss utility agreement

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo and Washington representatives are slated to meet on how to provide utilities to a piece of property that was the center of annexation talks.
       The Washington Township Board of Trustees voted 7-0 on June 18 to authorize Supervisor Dan O'Leary to work with the Village of Romeo on an intergovernmental agreement to provide utilities to property on 32 Mile Road.
       The Karam family is asking the municipalities to sign a temporary agreement so they can receive water and sewer for 72 acres of property on 32 Mile Road east of Van Dyke.
       In October 2013, Romeo sought to annex the Karam's property into the village borders, as well as property in Armada Township at 33 Mile and Powell roads, in order to provide sewer services.
       Washington Township disagreed with the action, and threatened to pull out of shared services like Parks and Recreation and the library if the annexation occurred. The Karams ultimately decided to forgo the request.
       O'Leary said Karen Karam recently approached Washington Township for sewer services so they can sell their property. Romeo has two sewer taps for the property, so they asked for an intergovernmental agreement to allow Romeo to continue serving the property until Washington can provide the utility.
       "Her (Karam's) motives are pure, she just wants to get sewer to her property," O'Leary said. "She has made that request and it's a reasonable one."
       O'Leary said the agreement would give Romeo a chance to lay off any excess capacity as the township pursues ways to provide sewer. As of June 26, he said he hadn't spoken with Romeo officials about the agreement, but planned on setting up meetings this week.
       Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said Romeo and Washington representatives haven't spoken about the agreement as of Friday, but noted the property currently has taps.
       "They can continue to receive the service, it's just a question on whether they need to expand it," she said. "We've never denied what they've already had."
       The township is pursuing two ways to deliver sewer service to the northern half of its community. The first is to build its own wastewater treatment plant, which is currently under review by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and require the township to seek a bond to pay for it.
       The other option is to have a pipeline installed by the county. Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco has proposed a $58 million, two-phase project to bring a sewer line from 23 Mile Road and Garfield up to Hayes and 32 Mile Road.
       The three-year project would have 80 percent of the cost paid by taxes issued by the county public works commission and the remaining 20 percent from the commission itself.

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