DETROIT (WWJ) – Calling the new drainage fees an “unauthorized tax on churches,” many faith-based ministries say the increase will cripple, even close many community churches.

Dozens of ministers speaking out Wednesday at the Great Lakes Water Authority board meeting saying that higher water department fees will keep them from helping their community.

It was standing room only, reports Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis, as church pastors and others spoke out about the drainage fee increase of $750 per acre a month.

Reverend Tellis Chapman, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church, sits on more than five acres of land.

“We pay $90 a month for the water, $3,600 for the drainage,” said Chapman, “now, can you imagine $750 per acre and we’re sitting on five plus?

“Where would the resources come from to help serve the community?” asked Chapman, “If the resources that we are generating are going to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department – that means you’ve got more violence on the street – that means you’ve got less people to be counselled.”

He and other ministers have a meeting Thursday with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on the matter.

GLWA officials say the Detroit Water and Sewage Department sets fees for city customers.

  1. DWSD has no infrastructure to control big rains, it built retention basins ineffective for rain control or combined sewer overflow instead of ditches. Today Detroit is flooded and it wants to charge for no control.

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