Detroit announces new plan to deal with water woes

The mayor of Detroit along with several community partners have come up with a 10-point plan they say would make it easier to collect payment on overdue water bills, pay bills and access financial assistance.
Nearly half of the 329,000 accounts are in arrears and the average cost of a Detroit water bill is double the national average. (Davido Coates/Detroit News/Associated Press)

The mayor of Detroit along with several community partners have come up with a 10-point plan they say would make it easier to collect payment on overdue water bills, pay bills, and access financial assistance. 

Mayor Mike Duggan and Sue F. McCormick, the director of Detroit Water and Sewerage, announced Monday they'll be extending the moratorium on residential water shutoffs to Aug. 25. 

The new plan will have turn-on fees and late payment penalties waived until the end of the moratorium period and a new payment structure will be set up that will require only a valid ID to enter. As well, more staff will be added at customer service and call centres. 

“This plan provides great resources for those Detroiters who need some guidance and support in paying their bills,” said McCormick. “As more Detroiters get current on their bills, that means there is less of a deficit for other Detroit residents to pick up in the form of added charges on their bill. It really benefits everyone.” 

A new assistance fund for low income families will also be established. It will be called the Detroit Water Fund. 

“It was clear by the turnout at our fair last weekend at our east side centre that Detroiters want to stay on top of their bill," said Duggan. "We just needed to give them a better process. Under this plan, anyone who wants to address their overdue balance will have every opportunity to do so."

The city will host a Water Fair at Cobo Centre on Aug. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving people a final chance to access the support they need in one spot. 

Water shutoffs will resume on Aug. 26. 

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