Source: Sherman Publications

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The township’s sewer rate roller coaster

by CJ Carnacchio

July 17, 2013

Over the last four years, Oxford Township sewer customers have experienced quite the roller coaster ride when it comes to their sewer rates.

In June 2009, the township board voted to decrease the quarterly non-metered sewer rate from $63 to $33.50 per REU.

Officials lowered the metered sewer rate from $20 to $17.50 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) as well.

The board also gave all sewer customers a onetime break by charging them absolutely nothing for usage from April through June 2009.

The reason the township did this was because at the time, the sewer fund had reserves amounting to $7.5 million, which some officials felt was too much money to be sitting on.

In August 2011, things changed and township officials voted to increase the non-metered rate from $33.50 per REU every three months to $86 per REU every six months, a net increase of $19 per REU. The metered rate was also increased from $17.50 to $23 per mcf.

At that time, sewer fund reserves amounted to $5.4 million and officials had projections that this savings could be quickly depleted over the next two years.

Three factors were considered the driving forces behind this potential depletion – 1) a cost increase from Detroit, where all of Oxford's sewage goes for treatment; 2) Oxford's portion of the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor (OMI) rehabilitation project; 3) projected shortfalls in the sewer operations budget.