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E-M:/ granholm vetos detroit water board regionalization scheme

Enviro-Mich message from Frank Ambrose <snakeman1549@yahoo.com>

Granholm vetoes water board bill

By Associated Press

LANSING -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Friday vetoed a
Republican bill that would have created a regional
board to review rates agreed to by the Detroit Water
and Sewerage Department. 
The veto was Granholm's first action on legislation
approved by the House and Senate since she took office
in January, Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said. 
The veto marked the first major partisan conflict
between the Democratic governor and the Republicans
who control the Legislature. 
Senate Republicans will discuss the possibility of
overriding the veto on Tuesday, according to a
spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema,
R-Wyoming. Two-thirds vote by both the Senate and
House is needed to override a veto and is considered
State Rep. Leon Drolet, a Republican from Macomb
County's Clinton Township who sponsored a similar bill
in the House, said he doesn't think the Legislature
would have enough votes to override the veto. 
"I'm bitterly disappointed," said Drolet, who
introduced in the House a companion bill to the one
that was vetoed by the governor. "The governor
apparently believes that the status quo is
The legislation was intended to appease suburban
Detroit residents who have long complained about high
water and sewer rates as set by Detroit. 
However, Granholm said the bill isn't constitutional
because it takes away the ability of a city to own and
operate a water supply and sewer system. She also was
worried about its effect on the relationship between
the city of Detroit and the suburbs. 
"The legislation pits city against suburb and
continues a tired battle that serves neither the
residents of Detroit nor those who live in its
suburbs," she said in her veto letter to the state
George Ellenwood, a spokesman for the Detroit Water
and Sewerage Department, applauded the veto. 
"We're delighted that Governor Granholm has made this
decision," Ellenwood said. "It's the best decision for
all of our customers." 
Water rates aren't solely set by the Detroit water
board; suburban municipalities charge their own fees,
he said. 
The Detroit-run water system serves 126 southeastern
Michigan communities with about 4 million people, or
four out of every 10 state residents. Detroit itself
has about 950,000 residents. 
Supporters of the bill said it would allow suburban
customers to be represented by the board that
determines water rates. 
Now, the seven-member Detroit water commission
currently sets the water rates and controls the city's
3,700-mile-long water delivery system. Commissioners
are appointed by the mayor of Detroit. 
Opponents of the legislation said the city of Detroit
paid for and built the water distribution system, and
blamed suburban governments for high water bills. 
The legislation would have created a five-member
regional board made up of representatives from
Genesee, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties and the
city of Detroit. 
The water board bill is Senate Bill 195. 

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