Village decides on new water rates for 2017

By Georgia Thelen
Review Staff Writer
On Nov. 21 the Lake Orion Village Council decided on new water rates that will kick in Jan. 1, 2017.
The new water and sewer rates will be $2.74 and $3.87 per unit, respectively. One unit measures 100 cubic feet of water, or 748 gallons. With approximately 1,540 users, homes and businesses in the Village, the council hopes to break even with the new rates.
There is still the looming decision of whether after Jan. 1 the Village should adjust rates once again to accommodate for the replacement of aging water mains and deteriorating infrastructure so they are able to have stronger water output. The cost of that replacement plan has been projected to cost around $8 million.
“Anyone with a 50-year plus community is facing the same issues,” said Council President Ken Van Portfliet.
The council has two options regarding water rates. The village can either gradually raise rates to cover the water main project costs over four years or all at once as a lump sum. Both are viable options, but the concern is that some residents may not be able to afford their water bills if the rates are doubled or tripled all at one time.
The council hopes to have community input at an upcoming public hearing on Dec. 12.
“When someone comes to me and asks ‘Are my tax dollars being spent well?’ I can’t just tell them ‘Well we do a good job down here’,” said Van Portfliet.
The Village plans on doing some investigating into the accuracy of the $8 million projected plans and to see if there are any alternative routes to water main replacement that may lower the cost for residents.