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Township board approves water, sewer rate hikes

By Dana Casadei

Resolutions to raise water and sewer rates for the 2023-2024 fiscal year passed unanimously at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, April 24. 

The approval of the new rates follows a year and a half worth of study sessions and meetings, and will increase water rates by 2.5 percent, as well as sewer rates by 3.5 percent.

Residents currently pay a fixed quarterly charge based on meter equivalent units (MEUs) and a volumetric charge based on the amount of water used, and Bloomfield Township has historically experienced a decline in water usage per customer account. 

While some residents were displeased during the evening’s public comment about the proposed rate increases, this will put the township in line with the national standards, and is consistent with other local communities who charge their rates based on meter and pipe size.

As part of the evening’s presentation, Noah Mehalski, township director of public works, presented staff recommendations for not only the approved water and sewer rates, but also for no fixed fees being added for secondary meter programs participants which involves metering of water use outside of homes. Mehalski also proposed utilization of the $7 million in surplus cash reserves to fund $4.4 million emergency sewer projects, and $3 million for the first year of a meter replacement program, which will be a three-year project and move the township towards their ultimate goal of charging usage based rates and getting away from water and sewage rates based on pipe size as they are now. 

“It seems any which way you do it, it’s not a perfect system, it’s going to benefit some more than others, this was trying to make it more equitable,” said trustee Valerie Murray. “Replacing those sending units end goal is to make it as fair as possible.”

The meter program would help replace the 52 percent of meters in the township that are over 15 years old, and would take advantage of the technological updates to meters, giving the township the data to better accurately reflect the amount of water passing through the pipes. This new data will be used to improve customer service and drive future rate considerations.

This new technology would be updated on all meters, and only replace the sending unit on the meters that aren’t old enough to be fully replaced. The sending unit transmits a data packet four times a day to the receiver, compared to radio, which is constantly getting data.

“We want a program that’s much better about providing users with data about their usage and then pricing based on that usage,” said Martin Brook, Bloomfield Township Clerk. “The sooner we get there, the better.”


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