Mount Clemens city commission sets utility rates

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published September 21, 2022


MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens City Commission set water and sewer utility rates for the 2022-2023 fiscal year at its meeting on Sept. 6.

Divided into four separate sections requiring individual approval, commissioners unanimously approved the residential and commercial water rates, the septic cleaning and hauling rates, and rates for miscellaneous sewer-related services.

Rates generally went up 5% over their current rates, with the water rate increased to $3.59, the sewer rate to $5.57, and the septic cleaning and hauling rate to $420 per truck and 8.3 cents per gallon, as per the recommendation of consulting firm Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick. Water and sewage use is calculated per 100 cubic feet of water used, expressed as one unit. The water and sewer rate increases are expected to cost residents about an extra $3 a month, assuming a resident uses 20 units of water.


Monthly water billing
The extra $3 will be paid monthly, as the commissioners unanimously switched from collecting water and sewer bills on a quarterly basis to a monthly basis.

“It is believed that this change will be beneficial to the city’s water customers, as well as reduce the volume and frequency of delinquent water bill payments,” said Gregg Shipman, interim city manager, as he introduced the resolution to the commission. “It will also help residents track water loss (by) getting billed monthly, versus waiting three months to see the bill if they had a leak or something going on that they didn’t know about.”

Commissioner Glenn Voorhess expressed concern regarding how payments could be handled, wondering if the city would be able to accept automatic payments from checking accounts without a service fee. While Shipman stated he handled his automatic payments through a credit union, the city could look into setting up a way to handle payments with the support of a bank. The city currently has a $4.50 credit and debit processing fee for every $400 spent paying water and sewer bills.


Telecommunication infrastructure extension
The commission also voted unanimously to maintain its agreement with Verizon Access

Transmission Services for five years. The agreement allows Verizon to construct, install, operate and maintain telecommunications infrastructure along city rights of way.

Michael Murray, city attorney, told the commission that this agreement was based on a state statute that regulated how municipalities contracted telecommunications infrastructure providers, including setting the fees for such agreements.

“The fees in this act call for a $500 one-time-only permit fee,” Murray said. “They paid that when they got the original permit.”

The act also sets forth maintenance fees that go to the state, which are then distributed to municipalities based on a formula.


Riverside flooding update
At the Aug. 15 city commission meeting, residents from Riverside Drive spoke to the commission about sewage flooding that occurred in homes along that street.

According to Shipman, he, the utilities director and the city engineer met with residents to hear concerns and evaluate the situation. The city is currently working on a solution.

“We will keep the residents informed as we progress towards a resolution,” Shipman said.

A small amount of work had been completed before a series of storms passed through the region in early September, and Shipman did not hear from any residents by Sept. 6 about any further issues.