Water rate hike to help fund infrastructure improvements in Ferndale

Water rate hike to help fund infrastructure improvements in Ferndale

(City of Ferndale, July 11, 2022)

Ferndale, MI – On July 1, 2022, the City of Ferndale’s 2022-23 Water Rate Increase went into effect. The increase was approved by City Council on April 25, 2022, as part of the annual budget process.

Residential and commercial customers will see an increase from $11.68 to $12.83 per unit, for a total of $1.15 per unit. The average Ferndale household uses about 10 units per three-month billing cycle.

The City’s commitment to maintaining safe access to water for all, which includes the policy of never shutting off water for non-payment, remains unchanged.

The City maintains its policy of never shutting off water for non-payment; access to drinking water is a human right

WHY THE INCREASE?

While increases are never welcome, the reason is essential: to maintain and make planned improvements to the City’s water system.

It is essential to note that the water supply system is autonomous. We’ve all heard the jokes and criticisms of cities “getting richer” by raising rates, but that’s just not the case. The City does not derive money from water or utility bills, nor can it use funding from other sources, such as the General Fund, to pay for water infrastructure. .

This means that improvements to the water system must be paid for by water customers. And these kinds of improvements are a necessity: water infrastructure maintenance is essential for all municipal water systems, and even more critical in older infrastructure like ours and those of our neighboring cities. It is your right as a citizen of Ferndale to have access to safe drinking water; it is our duty as a municipal water supplier to provide it safely. This is where scheduled maintenance comes in.

In addition to the planned updates, the City has undertaken a multi-year, $10 million lead service line replacement program. The water Ferndale delivers to customers is lead-free; however, lead can enter water if it passes through a lead service line. The surest way to protect against lead in water is to completely eliminate lead – and that’s exactly what we’re doing, updating the infrastructure of the estimated 30% of homes and properties that contain full or partial lead service lines.

HOW DID THE CITY DECIDE ON THE NEW TARIFF?

The City worked with Plante Moran, a leading financial advisory firm, to conduct a water rate study. Their results showed that rates did not keep up with rising costs and capital requirements, and the City was advised to increase costs to make the necessary system improvements.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS WILL THE CITY MAKE?

  • $6.3 million in sewer system improvements through 2027, including sewer repairs, easement cleanups, and stormwater infrastructure updates.
  • $7.3 million in water system updates through 2027, including major waterline upgrades to help strengthen lines and reduce the likelihood of breakage.
  • $10 million in state-mandated lead service line replacements.

The City is investing $280,000 in stormwater infrastructure to help meet the demands of increased weather due to climate change, as well as making upgrades to strengthen the water system and reduce the number of main breaks

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AND HAVE TROUBLE PAYING MY WATER BILL?

There are programs available in Michigan State and Oakland County to help people who are facing challenges.

  • The Michigan Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency program to help low-income households pay overdue water and sewage bills. To be eligible, you must have a residential account, be in arrears, and be below 150% of the federal poverty level and/or actively receiving various other federal assistance.
  • The Great Lakes Water Authority, of which Ferndale is a member community, offers the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP), a two-year program providing funding to eligible low-income homeowners to help pay water bills, conserving water and self-sufficiency initiatives.

To learn more about these programs or to discuss your account in more detail, please contact the city’s water billing specialist at 248-546-2374 or email [email protected]

CONTACT

For more information, including resources on how to access and read your digital water account, how to read your bill, and more, visit www.ferndalemi.gov/resources/water.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the city’s water billing specialist at 248-546-2374 or via email at [email protected]

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