Township to conduct study of water rates
By Lisa Brody
After issuing a request for proposals (RFPs) at a May meeting for a water and sewer rate study and receiving two proposals back, Bloomfield Township trustees unanimously approved accepting the proposal from Raftelis at their meeting on Monday, June 14.
The proposals submitted to the township were from Plante Moran, of Southfield, which the township has used in the past, including in 2018, when they assisted with the special assessment district (SAD) structural deficit analysis, and they provided an expert witness in the water and sewer rate lawsuit which the township defended itself against the law firm Hanley Kickham.
Raftelis, of Kansas City, Missouri, submitted a proposal that provided detail on their rate development process and clearly identified that not only do they have an understanding of accounting, but also a clear understanding of the technical aspects and intricacies of owning and operating a water and sewer system, engineering and environmental services director Olivia Olsztyn-Budry informed trustees.
“Not having worked with Raftelis in the past, township staff followed up on several of the references provided in their submittal. Specifically, the city of Rochester, the city of Sterling Heights, and the city of Marquette all engaged Raftelis on studies with similar scopes of work,” Olsztyn-Budry said.
While Raftelis' proposal was slightly more expensive of the two, she noted theirs was an extremely detailed proposal response with a clear outline of steps to complete the goals of the water and sewer rate study, had reviewed hours of township meetings for familiarity, identified that the study will include review and consideration of rate structures based on customer class, customer demand, type of customer, and water meter capability, and “Although not based in Michigan, has experience with several Michigan municipalities and agencies.”
“It's always nice to support a local company, but we want to provide the township residents with value,” said trustee Michael Schostak. “Their deep understanding of engineering was very impressive to me. I think they're going to give us a great rate study.”
“The personalized proposal – they watched hours and hours of us. The other was a canned proposal,” said supervisor Dani Walsh.
“We want to be methodical, we want to be fair, and we want to be transparent. I feel with them we will get there,” said treasurer Brian Kepes.