City reducing water rates, but is reduction enough? - WNEM TV 5

City reducing water rates, but is reduction enough?

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
STANDISH, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan business owner said he is tired of getting soaked on his water bill.

The city where he runs his laundromat is giving residents a price break, thanks to money from the state.

But he said for him, the break is not enough and he wants to know why it's so small.

"I'm very upset and that's why I called you," said Dennis Whitney, Standish resident.

He co-owns Whitney's Laundromat in Standish.

The city recently reduced its water rate by 35 cents for every 1,000 gallons used by Whitney and other customers.

"The little bit that I'm getting, it doesn't do any good. I mean, I had to eat the increase for the machines. I can't raise my prices cause I'd be out of business," Whitney said.

The water rate cut follows the arrival of a $2 million check from the state. That is the state's way of reimbursing Standish for the closing of the state prison in 2009.

Whitney is upset because two years ago Standish raised rates by $1.15 per 1,000 gallons. Now he said the reduction of 35 cents is a drop in the bucket compared to what he lost two years ago.

City Manager Gerald Nelson admits residents will continue to pay more, just not as much as two years ago.

"The net effect is going to be about a $7 per month increase in their bill. Where it would've been closer to $12 to $14 before with the old increase. So we did back that off and we were looking out for them," Nelson said.

Nelson said he has had plenty of discussions with Whitney. He said he is looking forward to talking to anyone who has questions about their water bill.

As for Whitney, he believes Standish leadership can do more to get water rates even lower.

"They've already approved through the council so I don't know if it can be changed. But I really would like to see them go back and look at it and do something better than what they did," Whitney said.

Nelson said he doesn't intend on having water rates rise anytime soon. He said barring any unforeseen events, he thinks the rates should hold steady until 2030.

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