Oakland County, DWSD and the Detroit Settlement
Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County, Michigan has refuted a document distributed by the State of Michigan which claimed suburban Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) ratepayers won’t be impacted by the City of Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment (POA). In addition, the state incorrectly asserted that Oakland County’s proposed amendment to House Bill 5567 will cost ratepayers millions of dollars.
“This misdirection boggles the mind. All should understand that this is an AFFORDABILITY issue as much as a global cost issue,” Oakland County said in its own document which lays out the actual costs of the POA. “What is incontrovertible is the fact that if this deal is configured as proposed during the period FY 2015 through FY 2023 all DWSD ratepayers, including those in Oakland County, WILL PAY MORE, as much as $225 million more.”
The document outlining the cost calculation accompanies this press release.
“Oakland’s proposed amendment (to HB 5567)… merely requires all departments or operations of the City paying into the GRS (General Retirement System) be treated uniformly in terms of amortization periods. If the plan fails because you can’t discriminate against DWSD customers then it is a bad plan anyway,” Oakland County said. “Stripped of its cover, it is nothing more than a scheme to involuntarily force the DWSD ratepayers to pay all GRS pension obligations on behalf of the City for the next 10 years. How do we know? See page 26 of 197 of the Disclosure Statement where it clearly states, in italics no less: ‘It is not contemplated that the City will make contributions to the GRS or PFRS through June 30, 2023 other than the contribution from DWSD to GRS.’”
Oakland County also said it supports a “grand bargain” plan that is fair to Detroit pensioners.
“Oakland County has not advocated against a fair plan to reduce cuts to pensioners. If the pensioners’ vote against the plan it will because of their motives, not because Oakland objected to a scheme that requires only the DWSD ratepayers to fund the City’s pension obligation for the next decade.”
Finally, Oakland County summarized the state of the DWSD system.
“This is what DWSD ratepayers are facing: ever increasing rates, falling flow volumes, falling revenues, aging infrastructure and intentionally underestimated capital needs, i.e. needs of at least $3.2 BILLION, an amount DWSD consultants admit they intentionally understated for the reason that they deemed what is actually needed is not ‘affordable.’”
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.