As part of the bankruptcy mediation, the city, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties and the state reached an agreement for a regional water system: The Great Lakes Water Authority.
Today, the Detroit City Council approved the deal in a 7-2 vote. Council President Brenda Jones and Member Mary Sheffield voted against the arrangement, citing the lack of citizen input and participation in the process.
The terms of the Great Lakes Water Authority deal require the County Commissions and the Detroit City Council to sign off by Oct. 10. Macomb County commissioners plan an Oct. 9 vote. The Oakland County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on Oct. 8. The Wayne County board scheduled an Oct. 2 decision.
Before the Detroit City Council voted today, members shared their opinions about the deal. Gabe Leland said he didn’t know the “end game,” but that as elected leaders, the council should solve problems for residents and the city.
“We have infrastructure problems throughout every one of our utilities,” Leland said. “There are real concerns here. This issue does not solve all those problem but were getting to a point, we’re looking in the mirror and we’re trying to solve the issue.”
Sheffield said she did an informal poll in her district and found residents were opposed by a 3 to 1 margin. “A lot were undecided. That goes back to the public not having the information,” Sheffield said. “I understand the need for improvement in the infrastructure but I think we have to think long term as well and I don’t believe this is the best deal.”