Brighton Township Residents Speak Against Sewer Rate Increases
Residents are seeing their first water bills after township board members voted to increase rates in March.
Brighton Township Board of Trustee members heard from several unhappy residents speaking against sewer rate increases during its meeting Monday night.
Township Supervisor Tom Murphy said residents are seeing their first quarterly statement since the board approved a $10 increase per residential equivalent unit (REU - average amount of water and sewer consumed per household) in March. The operations and maintenance charge will remain the same at $90 per REU, bringing the new rate to $170.50 per quarter for water and sewer customers.
The new sewer rate took effect May 1.
Brighton Township resident Mike Mauck, manager of the Woodland Lakes Shore Condo Association, spoke on behalf of 36 families living in the condos.
"We're asking for some explanation for the 5.5 percent increase in sewer fees," Mauck said. "When we purchased these properties, we went thought the declaration of sales documents, it was not explained to us that we would have to pay for any unused sewers that may be on the property."
Other Woodland Lakes Shore Condo residents spoke against the rate increase as well, saying that almost $700 a year was too much to pay.
Brighton Township business owner and Brighton Area School Board member John Conely said the rates are unfair for his business, Conely Auto Wash & Oil Change, which recycles approximately 60 percent of its water.
Conely said his business is run from a well, not city water, so his bills have been estimated. He said his last statement was between $800 and $900.
"Water fees should be calculated on the amount used," he said. "I've been charged unfairly since the day I bought the place."
Conely said he had contacted previous Township Manager Dan Bishop, but was told there were no provisions to account for his business in the way the rates were calculated.
Conely said he plans on installing his own water meter and calculating the water flow from his well, so he can be charged fairly.
The township's sewer fund is projected to have a negative cash balance of $322,000 by September. The rate increase was to help the township see positive cash flow by 2018 as well as allow the township to continue to make sewer bond payments until it can be refinanced in 2015.