The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Detroit water rates go up while the money floods out to business

Mar 5, 2001

On July 1, the City of Detroit will raise water and sewer rates for metro area residents.

Detroit city residents will be billed 7.1% more for water. Suburban residential hikes will average out to 11.6%.

On the other hand, city residents will be billed 13.7% more for sewerage, while the suburban increase will average 7.9%.

This is the second straight year that the Detroit City Council has raised rates. On top of that, they announced that rates will also be raised in 2002 and 2003.

City Council President Gil Hill said that the jumps were needed to pay to meet government standards. But for over 20 years, the city has ignored the existing government standards. They put only minimal money into upkeep of the system. If they had a problem, they simply dumped raw sewage into the Detroit River –where the drinking water comes from.

Mayor Dennis Archer stated that the "increase in water and sewer rates are a direct result from the expenditures that have to be made."

Yes, the system is falling apart, and needs a lot of work. But why is that? Because the city has been diverting money from public services for years. They hand it over to big businesses, to subsidize their projects like: two new stadiums; a new Compuware headquarters; the luxury Riverfront condo development; toxic waste cleanups without charging the polluters one penny; and buying up land, houses, businesses, to turn the property over to GM, Chrysler, and the downtown casinos.

The list is endless.

So yes, now a crash program has to be carried out –because Archer and the City Council have been making these expenditures, at the whim and for the convenience of city businesses.

A broken-down, run-into-the-ground water department has to increase its rates, because the money that should have been there to pay for its upkeep, has long since disappeared into the pockets of the wealthy and powerful.