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Wayne County Seeks Mediator for Regional Water Talks

Thursday, April 10, 2014

By David Cassleman

Wayne County has filed a motion in Federal Bankruptcy Court requesting a mediator to assist in stalled negotiations over a regional water authority.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano says his office filed the motion with Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes -- who is handling Detroit’s Chapter 9 case.

Ficano says the region should do everything it can to avoid private ownership of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

“The last thing you want is this to go to a private entity … that their first obligation is going to be to shareholders. And that means that you have a monopoly and any of the costs automatically going to be passed on … to the ratepayers. Because it is a monopoly … people can’t go anyplace else.”

Ficano says a mediator could assist with the talks in a similar way to how a facilitator helped in negotiations over the Detroit Institute of Arts.

He says a regional water authority -- with input from several leaders in the area -- is the best option for Metro-Detroit.

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Find more coverage of Detroit's bankruptcy and its impact on people and neighborhoods on WDET's Next Chapter Detroit blog.

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