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Wayne Co. Board Says Hands Off Our Water System

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Wayne County Board of Commissioners Thursday voted in favor of a resolution that opposes state legislative attempts to take control of  the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Thursday’s discussion inspired analogies from commissioners in favor of a resolution opposing any change of governance of the system.

“It would be like you owning your house, and then having outsiders telling you how to run your house,” said one commissioner. 

“I don’t necessarily like the prices that General Motors is charging for those cars, so I’m going to appoint a board to run this company for you,” said another.

Commission Vice Chairman Alisha Bell, who sponsored the resolution, said it is not about “us” versus “them.”

“I would like us to look at it as unifying that we as a body do not agree with the legislation taking over any of our city’s assets — be it Livonia, be it Westland, be it any of our cities. And I believe we ought to stand as a front,” Bell said.

The resolution passed — although many out-county commissioners have called the resolution divisive.

The city of Detroit has been working on a plan to turn around the system that was mismanaged by former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick stands accused of steering water contracts to his friend, Bobby Ferguson, in a federal indictment in December.  Former Detroit Water Department Director Victor Mercado is charged in that same indictment.

Oakland County is asking a federal judge to take away control of the Detroit water system away from the city. Instead, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch wants the department to be run by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, along with representatives from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.

Lansing lawmakers will soon vote on a controversial bill that would regionalize control department.

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