Thursday, May 15, 2014

Support Building for Regional Water Authority Among DWSD's Suburban Wholesale Customers

Among DWSD's suburban wholesale customers, there is growing support for a regional water authority, despite continued opposition by Oakland and Macomb Counties. Wholesale customers are also seeking to join the currently-private mediation process aimed at forming a new water and sewer authority.   

On May 2, 2014, the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA), which represents 11 suburban wholesale customers, including Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Southfield, filed papers with the bankruptcy court in Detroit's Chapter 9 case seeking to participate in the private mediation process originally requested by Wayne County in April. 

The Western Townships Utility Authority (WTUA), which represents Canton, Northville, and Plymouth has also endorsed a regional water authority as a viable alternative and sought participation in the process. 

Conference of Western Wayne Communities
Most recently, on May 9, 2014, the Conference of Western Wayne (CWW), a group of 18 wholesale customers in Wayne County representing some 700,000 residents, unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the concept of a regional authority and seeking participation in the on-going mediation process with the three suburban counties -- Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. 

Comment: The impression I have from these latest developments is that not all suburban communities are in line with Oakland and Macomb County's hard-line stance toward negotiating a new authority, nor do the Wayne County communities fully endorse their county leaders. Given what's at stake, I think as many stakeholders as possible should have a voice in the process of creating the Great Lakes Water and Sewer Authority.

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1 comment:

Jim Lang said...

Interesting commentary. I wonder if you’re drawing too sharp a line between the positions of (a) Oakland and Macomb counties and (b) the two or three dozen communities that have come forward, ostensibly in favor of a regional water authority.

I’m not aware that Oakland and Macomb would oppose a regional system based on DWSD infrastructure if they were furnished with full and favorable data and Detroit abandoned the $49 million annual payment it has been demanding.

Similarly, I haven’t seen any reports that the intervening communities would forgo the kind of information that the two counties have been seeking; nor have the communities, as far as I know, indicated a willingness to pay the $49 million per year.

But, certainly, the plot thickens. -- Jim Lang