Refinancing and restructuring. Debt and deals. Suburbs and subsidies. All are topics in the current discussions regarding the future of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department as part of the bankruptcy mediation and forthcoming restructuring plan for the city.
The Detroit Free Press reports from the Feb. 11 meeting of commissioners and other officials from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and provides a comprehensive overview of where negotiations are and what issues are in the forefront. Writer Bill Laitner characterized attendees descriptions of the session as “special – and a little scary.”
By way of background to Laitner’s piece, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has urged regionalizing DWSD, which provides water for 40 percent of Michigan’s population. Some suburban leaders have proposed breaking away from the city department, but in some cases, long-term contracts with the city prevent that from happening. Other concerns include the governance plans for and composition of a new regional board as well as future rates for customers. Leaders have also called for more and better audited financial statements from the city department.