Ypsilanti utility customers may see water, sewage rate increases in 2014
Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority customers could have slightly higher water and sewage bills next year after the Detroit Water and Sewage Department proposed increases for most of its customers Thursday.
Rodney Johnson, Assistant Director of Commercial Operations and and Public Affairs for the Detroit Water and Sewage Department said the board has proposed a 6.2 percent water rate increase for the YCUA.
On average, the sewer rates may increase 3.7 percent for suburban communities.
Johnson said a "host of factors" go into how the department figures out the increases for each municipality it provides water to such as the distance from the water plants to the city and the amount of volumes cities contract for.
The increase will go toward maintaining the systems and any upgrades, capital improvements and paying previous debt, Johnson said.
"Any of those things are tied into our rate," Johnson said. "This year would have been our lowest rate increase in the last decade and we're kind of happy about it."
YCUA interim director Jeff Castro said the department has yet to receive a specific rate increase amount from Detroit, but he is expecting to receive some information as early as next week.
If the rate increases are approved, Johnson said the new rates will go into effect July 1.
Johnson said the YCUA likely would see the increase on its August bill. Customers wouldn't see an increase until 2014.
Castro said during that time, the department will evaluate its budget to see what it can do to in terms of "absorbing" some of the costs. The Detroit Water and Sewage Department increased its rate to the YCUA by 8.7 percent in 2012.
However, YCUA was able to absorb some of the costs through expense reductions and other cost-saving measures so its customers didn't pay for the full increase.
"YCUA always does its diligence to try to absorb the cost and we're going to try to do the best we can, but all communities are expecting a rate increase, as we do every year," Castro said. "We would have no choice, but to pass some of this onto our customers."