Source: Sherman Publications

Water contract disagreement

February 05, 2014

A contract between the City of Clarkston and Independence Township will have to be renegotiated if the city wants to gain control of $287,000 plus interest accrued through water and connection fees.

In December, Clarkston City Manager Carol Eberhardt told council the city should request the money back so any interest could be collected.

Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle said when Eberhardt requested the money back, he immediately reviewed the contract. Kittle said the contract is clear in who will collect and maintain control of the funds--the township.

“A contract that has been in place since 2001 calls for the township to collect fees and put them in a separate account for the city--which is what we are doing,” he said.

Kittle said the funds are held in escrow and any repairs would be covered by the township from money in the city fund. If repair costs exceed the amount of money in the fund, the city must cover the remaining balance.

Independence Township Department of Public Works (DPW) installs water taps and completes any repairs in the city.

“Our concern is we give the city the money and they use the funds for normal operating expenses and then something breaks and it costs $300,000 to repair. What if they don’t have the money and the break has to get fixed,” asked Kittle.

The contract can be renegotiated or the city can request a provision allowing interest to come to the city, he said.

Eberhardt said when she recommended getting the money back to city council, she was not aware of the contract between the city and the township.

She said it was just an idea .

“Getting the money back is really no big deal and I will inform the council about the contract, and ask them how the situation should be handled,” she said.

– Andrea M. Beaudoin