Oakland Twp. said 'discrepancy' led to massive water bills for some residents

Posted at 6:47 AM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 06:51:13-04

(WXYZ) — Oakland Township is making an apology to residents after a miscalculation that sent some water bills through the roof this week.

Residents in the township got a letter this week letting them know "a discrepancy in the methodology used to calculate their bill was discovered."

The reason? The state now mandates townships have water storage for many community wells. As a result, a $5.4 million water storage facility is being built off Rochester Road south of Snell to serve nearby neighborhoods.

Around 750 residents served by it have to pay for an approximately $300,000 a year bond payment for the next 30 years.

One customer showed us her bill when we asked her how much more she was paying. She previously paid about $300 per quarter.

“It's $1,638 for three months. It’s crazy,” Megan Rooney said.

According to the letter to residents, an adjustment will be issued to customers in advance of their next quarterly bill.

The township did say residents will see a rise in the bill to cover the cost, and it should be an average annual increase of $400 in their water bill.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said it will make the system more reliable and safe.

“We are putting in a 500,000-gallon storage tank and a related pumping station and a way of using chlorine as a disinfectant. We are doing these things to keep up the water quality, system reliability, and for public health,” said Nash.

“It is expensive. The township board thought they were picking the fairest way, the more you use the more you pay,” said Adam Kline, Oakland Township Manager.

Kline says the township has been having meetings about this for years, but they could have been more vocal about when payments would start.

There are other neighborhoods that have already been assessed such fees for water storage and others that soon will also have to pay for such a project.