Water rates to increase

FLINT TWP. — It’s official. Water bills are going up next month.

The township board voted 6-1 on a resolution to pass along a water rate increase from the Genesee County Water Supply System, which reflects a rate increase from its supplier, the Detroit pipeline.

The board has opted in the past not to pass on the rate increase to end users.

But without passing it on, the township would be footing monthly costs of about $41,000, said Treasurer Marsha Binelli.

Beginning with the October billing, water rates will increase about 35 cents increase over current rates , based on a charge of $3.70 cents for each 100 cubic feet of metered water usage, according to the approved resolution.

It is the third increase in three years.

A pass-through increase approved in August 2012 raised rates to $3.35 per 100 cubic feet – a 22- cents increase estimated which added an average $2 a month to water bills.

In August 2011, the board approved a $3.55 quarterly increase to offset increased costs.

Before that, the board chose to absorb the rate increase which amounted to annual costs of about $305,643, according to a 2011 review of the township’s water system finances.

Picking up the tab also depleted water and sewer fund reserves which eventually will be needed to repair or improve the township’s aging system. By passing on costs to end users, the township has built its sewer and water fund reserves back up to about $6 million.

The rate increase does not apply to residents who use well water or to sewer billings.

Township water bills are mailed quarterly and the rate increase will be reflected on the next billing. That means water users got a brief pass from the rate the county charges the township, which went into effect in July.

Before approving the rate hike resolution the board dickered back and forth about when the increase goes into effect. The county gave the township a 90-day grace period to decide whether to absorb the cost or pass it along, said Township Supervisor Karyn Miller.

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