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The City of Madison Heights has absorbed increasing costs for commodities and maintenance over the past five years, but has only modestly increased water and sewer rates twice during that time. Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) and Oakland County Water Resources have increased costs for water and sewage/stormwater treatment paid by the City each year, and we’ve now reached the point where these rate changes are a necessity to adequately fund the operations and capital improvements for our water and wastewater distribution systems.
Beginning with bills to residents on July 1, 2023, the City will be combining treatment charges into the wastewater rate. Water rates will rise from $3.27 per unit to $4.26 per unit; sewer rates will rise from $3.69 per unit to a wastewater rate of $6.30 per unit; and the stormwater rate will be eliminated.
A unit of usage is the equivalent of 748 gallons of water. Each combined unit of usage will cost $10.56, so the actual cost of water used and disposed of by residents comes to just 1.4 cents per gallon.
These rate changes are a necessary step to adequately fund the operations and capital improvements for our water and wastewater distribution systems and ensure these systems remain strong, reliable, and safe for residents for many years to come.
This decision was not taken lightly, and was made after extensive and careful discussion.
Even if we conserve the amount of water we use in Madison Heights, the cost of maintaining the water and sewer systems in our City continues to rise, making these changes necessary.
We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure that water safety and reliability remains at the highest level possible in Madison Heights for years to come.
Some positive news is that even after the rate changes take effect, Madison Heights residents will still be paying the lowest rates in the region, with an average bill for three months of usage estimated at $126.72, based on usage of 12 units.
Neighboring communities have an average three-month bill of $172.44 for the same level of water usage, putting Madison Heights well below these communities in costs per household.
We understand residents may face challenges economically, and financial assistance is available. The Great Lakes Water Authority offers support to residents through its WRAP program, which you can learn more about online at: https://www.glwater.org/assistance/. Also available for those who qualify is the Lowincome Households Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which is offered by the State of Michigan. In addition, the City of Madison Heights offers residents the option of paying their bill monthly instead of every three months, to help residents with monthly budgeting.
Madison Heights purchases water and water treatment (sewage and stormwater). In addition, Madison Heights has internal water operations and handles capital projects such as water and sewer line replacements, water main break repairs, hydrant maintenance and overall maintenance of these distribution systems, ensuring the water delivered to your home or business is available when you need it and safely.
The breakdown of how the funds from your water and sewer bills is spent is as follows: