As Detroit pivots on the edge of bankruptcy, many of us are left to wonder what could possibly be done to get this city back on its feet. What regulations could we set up to boost the economy without taking anymore money out of our citizen’s pockets? One of the new suggestions that have come up recently is the establishment of a regional water authority which would manage the distribution and cost of water in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties.
Federal Judge Steven Rhodes who is overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy case agreed that “creation of a regional water authority is not only in the best interest of the city but in the best interest of the customers of the water department.” Doing so has the potential to rejuvenate some of the funds the city desperately needs without reaching too far into its citizen’s pockets.
Another idea that has come up suggests that Detroit should privatize its water department. The theory here is that private companies can operate more efficiently at a lower cost. The issue is that doing this may increase rates in an already struggling city. All that will do is increase debt and push us over the edge.
If the proposal for a regional water authority was approved, the entire Detroit area would see system-wide improvements, well-maintained water and sewer rates, and a boost in revenue to alleviate a portion of our $18 billion debt. The rates will need to be increased at first to accommodate for operational expenses, but they should level out shortly after. The costs will be lower in the long run.
Robert A Ficano, Wayne County Executive, believes that establishing a regional water authority is the answer the Detroit financial system has been looking for. He said in a statement to the press, “The time is now to get a deal done. We cannot throw away this unique opportunity. We continue to do our due diligence by reviewing the water department’s financial data to get the best deal for all our citizens, from both the suburbs and city.” He hopes to repeat the success of the recent North American International Auto Show in contributing to the Detroit economy.
Keep an eye on your water bill for changes to come. They could lead to a better future for us all.