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E-M:/ Detroit Water to show burbs proposed rates

Detroit News, Sunday, January 2, 2005

"This Week's Issue

Detroit Water to show burbs proposed rates

City leaders will have a chance to voice their opinions at the Jan. 13 meeting.

To get involved

The Detroit City Council will vote on new water rates Feb. 10. To register your opinion, write to the council at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building, 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226.

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DETROIT -- The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will present this year's proposed wholesale rates to suburban leaders at a meeting on Jan. 13.

The session is an opportunity for the suburbs to have their opinions heard by the department before the official Board of Water Commissioners' public hearing on the water and sewerage rates. That meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26. The Detroit City Council will vote on the rates Feb. 10, following a public hearing.

"This is the final in a series of meetings with our water and sewer customers that have taken place since September," department spokesman George Ellenwood said. "What this does is provide them with a forum, before the actual public hearings, to discuss any question they have."

Last month, the department announced water rate changes for the 126 communities it serves in southeast Michigan. Suburban communities will pay an average of 3.9 percent more for water in 2005, and Detroit rates will rise less than 1 percent, based on preliminary figures.

Rate increases to Detroit's suburban water customers have sparked controversy in recent years when the hikes have exceeded 10 percent.

The overall rate increases from Detroit are expected to be the lowest in 12 years. Livonia resident Helen Reading, 74, lives on a fixed income -- so higher water rates will make her life tougher.

"Water rates are high," Reading said. "I'm a little upset."

Doreen Lawton of Novi tries to conserve water.

"Water is a very precious commodity, and we all should be encouraged to save," she said.

You can reach Darren A. Nichols at (734) 462-2190 or dnichols@detnews.com.

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