$8+ Million to Slam Sewer Customers - Rates Will Jump 42%

Trustee Dockett to Clerk Manley: “You Lied to Me.”

By David Gordon

By the narrowest of margins, the Board of Trustees voted 4-to-3 to spend $200,000 on an engineering study for an unneeded $5 million “holding tank” at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

These studies are generally obsolete within 18 months so it is assumed the “Big Spenders” (BS) will vote to borrow $5M for the holding tank and another $3M to expand existing sewer lines...all before the 2020 election.

The $8.2 million total will jack up customer rates about $165/year until 2040 (about 42%). Businesses, stores and restaurants with multiple bathrooms will see a much greater increase.

Leading the “Big Spenders” are Supervisor Marlene Chockley, Clerk Kathy Manley and Trustees Janet Chick and Jacki Otto, who claim, without any evidence, that the WWTP needs the tank to protect the environment and to attract development. (Maybe they’ll hold an Open House....or Open Tank...because folks will be so excited to smell it.)

Their pollution claims are disputed by the facts. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), which regulates the plant, says it can handle 40% more before a holding tank is needed... and says the plant has never been cited for polluting.

On average, the plant processes 700,000/gallons/day and can handle 1.3M/gal/day. The MDEQ says the tank isn’t needed until the plant reaches 1M/gal/day.

Treasurer Lenore Zelenock and Trustees Wayne Dockett and Tawn Beliger voted against the spending, and Township Attorney Paul Burns has told the Board that developers, not current customers, typically pay for plant expansion while current customers pay for maintenance. (Apparently the “BS-ers” have no problem ignoring legal advice.)

“Hold onto your pocketbooks,” warned Zelenock. “This is just the beginning,” she added.

Clerk Manley was the surprise “yea” vote. Prior to last night, she had voiced opposition to the spending. After the meeting, she said, “I’ve spoken to some people, done some research and had a change of heart”.

Trustee Dockett caught Manley in the elevator as they were leaving: “You lied to me,” he said, “you lied”, and walked from the building.