GLWA Board approves water and sewer budget and charges for regional system

DETROIT— The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Board of Directors last week approved drinking water and sewer Budget and charges for its member partners for the 2019 Fiscal Year.

Annual increases in both the drinking water and sewerage Budgets will be only one percent, consistent with the Authority’s commitment of a four percent maximum.

“I want to thank the GLWA Board of Directors and all of our member partners for their participation in the creation of this Budget, and their input into charge development,” said GLWA CEO, Sue F. McCormick. “The Authority continues to demonstrate success in
keeping costs below our budget cap thanks to continued strong financial management, our commitment to continuous operational efficiencies and our constant collaboration with member partners.”

The drinking water and sewer service charges set by GLWA, which will vary by member community, cover all of the Authority’s costs of providing water and sewer services.
This includes pumping stations, transmission pipes, and treatment plant maintenance and renewal, as well as paying debt service on outstanding bonds issued to fund ongoing capital improvements to the system’s vast infrastructure.

“I want to thank my fellow directors for continuing to embody the spirit of regional collaboration with which GLWA was founded. The Budget set last week ensures that the Authority will be able to continue operating, maintaining and improving the regional system, ensuring that our member partners receive water of unquestionable quality and effective and efficient sewer services,” said GLWA Board Chairman Freman Hendrix. “The Administration’s focus this Fiscal Year is on infrastructure management, and the budget we’ve set will allow progress to be made, especially on the water side with the use of groundbreaking technology that will be used in a pilot project to assess the section of transmission main that was involved in the break last year which affected a number of communities in Oakland County. It is through projects like these that the Authority will develop a roadmap for system sustainability and growth.”

With the action taken by the GLWA Board on June 20th, the 2019 Fiscal Year charges will be passed along to the Authority’s member partners. Each community must then determine what additional costs are necessary to provide service to their individual
retail customers, taking operations and maintenance of their local system into consideration.

It is important to note that GLWA charges are only one element of what local residents and business owners see on their bill. Each municipality has its own added costs associated with maintaining its system, which can mean that GLWA’s charges may be a larger or smaller percentage of the total cost of a local community’s water expenses.
Ultimately, each individual member partner sets the end-cost that is passed along to consumers in local rates.

Income-qualified residents in GLWA’s service area who are having trouble with their water bill have the opportunity to enroll in the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP), which will provide $4.3 million in 2018 to qualified households in participating communities across southeast Michigan. WRAP funding can provide water bill payment assistance, arrearage assistance, water audits and water conservation education, and up to $1,000 per home to fix leaks and other minor home plumbing repairs. Those interested can learn more about WRAP by visiting, or by calling 313-386-9727.

“The Board’s action today demonstrates GLWA’s balanced approach to achieving near and long-term financial sustainability,” said Nicolette Bateson, GLWA’s Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer. “This is achieved with controlled annual operating costs combined
with a modest annual revenue adjustment dedicated to infrastructure investment and reduced reliance on debt.”