Water rate increase to be considered

FLINT TWP. — Water bills could be going up next month.

If so, the township would be passing along a rate increase from the county that went into effect July 1.

A resolution approving the rate increase was removed from the agenda at the township board’s August 12 meeting because township treasurer Marsha Binelli was absent.

The township gets a grace period between the time of the rate change until the September billing, said Township Supervisor Karyn Miller.

A resolution approving the rate increase is due in September to the Genesee County Water Supply System, which buys water from the Detroit pipeline.

Miller said the rate increase resolution will come before the board at its next meeting on Sept. 3. But it is not an automatic action.

In the past, the board has decided not to pass on water rate increases to township water users but instead absorbed the cost which depleted its water and sewer reserve fund balance.

Rate increases have been passed along for the past two years and the water and sewer fund has now built up a $6 million dollar reserve.

Water rates would rise to $3.70 cents for each 100 cubic feet of metered water usage, according to the proposed resolution. That’s about a 35 cents increase over current rates.

Last August, the township board approved a pass-through increase that raised rates to $3.35 per 100 cubic feet, which was a 22- cents increase estimated to add an average $2 a month to water bills.

In August 2011, the board approved a $3.55 quarterly increase to offset increased costs. Township water bills are mailed quarterly.

Several current board members either voted against or expressed reluctance in voting for the previous two rate hikes.

The board voted unanimously last week to postpone consideration of the proposed 2013 increase. Treasurer Binelli and trustee Frank Kasle were both absent.

If the board decides not to pass along the rate increase to about 9,500 homes it the township, it will be responsible for making up the difference.

In 2011, a review of the township’s water system finances showed an annual loss of about $305,643 because it was picking up the difference between what it is charged by the county and rates charged to residents.

A rate increase would not apply to residents who use well water or to sewer accounts, Miller said.

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