City of Saline holds public meeting after water bill skyrockets for residents

'I'm lucky. Mine only went up 90%'
Posted at 6:21 AM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 06:31:39-04

(WXYZ) — Residents in Saline are sounding off after many say they received water bills that are nearly double or triple the usual cost.

RELATED: 'Definitely going to hurt': Saline water bills suddenly double, triple and quadruple

Water is often one of the cheapest bills for homeowners, but people in Saline say after a rate hike was put in place this summer, they’re getting bills upwards of $1,000 dollars.

"I'm lucky. Mine only went up 90%. The last time I heard, we could expect [a] maybe $80 increase. Mine went up $160 plus," one resident said.

"They're talking $500-$1000. That is unbelievable and so sad," another added.

The exorbitant increase is part of a rate hike to pay for a state-required $70 to $80 million update to the city’s outdated water treatment facility.

The rate hike happens to land at a time when water usage is at its height.

"We made a horrible mistake in my opinion. We are human. Didn't look at it from that point of view, of putting this rate in this particular quarter this hike."

In a council meeting Monday night, city leaders apologized and offered to come out to investigate meter readings over the next month. They say they are hoping to help ease the rate increase in the coming months.

"If we get grants, we will reduce rates, hopefully. They won't have to be as increased as they are now. But right now, we don't have guarantees the federal government or state will give us money," the mayor said.

The Saline City Council agreed to extend the due date for water bills to December.

It is worth noting that the cost to update the water treatment facility is much higher now than it was just three years ago.