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  • By Lisa Brody

Township water, sewer rates to increase

Bloomfield Township trustees unanimously approved raising water and sewer rates for residents for fiscal year 2018-2019, at their meeting on Monday, March 26, with rate increases becoming effective to customers July 1, 2018.

Olivia Olsztyn-Budry, township engineering and environmental director, explained in a memo, “The township owns, operates and maintains the water system that delivers the water to the customers and the sewer system that collects the wastewater from each customer. The water and sewer system consists of over 500 miles of buried pipe throughout the township that is operated and maintained by the township. In order to determine the township's charges for water and sewer to the customer, the water and sewer systems' estimated expenses are added to the estimated water and sewer purchases from Southeast Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA) and the Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner's Office (WRC) . These costs are then divided by the estimated volume of water to be sold to the township's customers.”

She said the rates are based on estimated 1,000 cubic feet of water, and right now, volume, which has decreased, is the primary issue.

“In Bloomfield Township, there has been a downward trend in water purchases,” Olsztyn-Budry said. “The estimates rarely match the actual usages.”

She said SOCWA charges the township a 10 percent flat rate a month, regardless of water purchases.

For sewer charges, the county charges the township a 100 percent flat rate for sewer services, with the WRC's expenses remaining the same regardless of flow.

“There are about 2,000 more water customers than sewer customers,” Olsztyn-Budry said. “Sewer volume billings average about 70 percent less than water billings by volume, over a five-year average.”

She recommended, and trustees voted unanimously to approve, an increase a 66 cents a quarter in water usage rate, from $5.20 to $5.86 per 1,000 gallons; water debt service rate to increase 15 cents, from $10.75 a quarter per 1,000 gallons to $10.90; with the water ready to serve charge remaining at $34 a quarter.

Sewer ready to serve and sewer debt charges were approved to remain the same, with the sewer ready to serve charge at $38 a quarter, and the sewer debt charge at $16.25 per 1,000 gallons. However, the sewer usage fee was approved to be increased by $1.06 a quarter per 1,000 gallons, from $6.93 to $7.99.

For those paying a flat rate for quarterly sewer services, there will be an increase of $36.65 a quarter, from $243 to $279.65.

Trustees voted 7-0 to approve all the rates.

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