Source: Sherman Publications

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Sewer fees changing

by Trevor Keiser

April 27, 2011

Independence Township residents will soon pay for sewer services based on how much they use it.

Township Department of Public Works currently charges a flat rate, $77.21 per Residential Equivalency Unit (REU), said Linda Richardson, DPW director.

"When we look at a home, it's one REU," Richardson said. "It doesn't matter if it's 900 square feet or 10,000 square feet, doesn't matter if you have one person or 10 people living in a home, it's just one REU."

Richardson said changing the billing from the flat rate to flow rate, based on how much water was actually used plus a "ready to serve" charge, is more fair.

"That way senior citizens who lives by themselves are not paying the same cost as the home with 10 children," she said. "It's a little more equitable."

The change also applies to commercial buildings, and should save some business owners between $500-$2,000.

"Some commercial buildings would be paying a little more depnding on what the use was," she said.

Sewer fees cover township payments to Oakland County and Detroit to discharge into the Clinton-Oakland systems.

"This way, if we have a huge increase and we are going to start having some big increases from Detroit, then all we have to do is increase our flow rate. Unless we're going to have additional operating cost, then we'll have to increase the ready-to-serve," she said. "I think it will be a little easier for people to understand too."

The change won't take until Richardson receives definite numbers from Detroit and Oakland County about fee increases and her 2012 budget.

"Once I have that, it's just a matter of punching the numbers in," she said.