DURAND CITY COUNCIL, staff and residents gathered at city hall Wednesday for a town-hall conversation on the upcoming water and sewer rate increase.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

 

  Durand City Council members and city staff met at city hall Wednesday, March 2 for an open house style meeting to answer questions regarding the water and sewer rate increase starting July 1. The public was invited to participate during a two-hour period from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. if they had questions or concerns about the upcoming rate increase. The meeting was informal.

   Durand property owners and a few Vernon Township property owners will see the increase, which was already adopted by council, coming this summer. 

   Baker Tilly, an independent, third-party accounting firm, researched and provided an analysis on water and infrastructure to the city of Durand, recommending the rate increase based on need. In many cases, Durand has old water/sewer infrastructure, which is extremely expensive to repair or replace. The infrastructure issue has been complicated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), with new requirements in place regarding such infrastructure, along with the state Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), calling for replacement of water lines between residential property and the street. 

   According to staff and council members present, the initial rate study began following nominal rate increases based on previous councils, which ultimately were not enough to cover ensuing costs as infrastructure aged. Durand’s water plant was constructed in the early 1990s and the sewer plant dates back to the 1970s. The state, through EGLE, has strengthened mandates regarding such municipal infrastructure and Durand has been unable to obtain most grant funding to assist, instead being offered low interest loans, which would have to be paid back.

   Durand Mayor Ken McDonough emphasized he wants council to continue to be open to the people – a statement he has shared several times previously. McDonough, who has a longtime history employed with the water department, understands water and sewer infrastructure. He has been working with Durand City Manager Cameron Horvath since November to determine methods to offer open conversation with Durand and Vernon Township residents.

Durand Council and Staff Answer Water and Sewer Rate Increase Questions was last modified: March 8th, 2022 by Karen Elford