Detroit Evening Report: Local leaders supporting state water affordability bills

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other local leaders are backing state legislation to create a water affordability program.

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Current estimates show that nearly 1 in 10 Michigan families struggle with water affordability, according to the advocacy group Clean Water Action. Last week, the Wayne County Commission voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to support SB 549-551 — a water affordability bill package introduced to the Legislature by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).

“I would like to thank Commissioner Jonathan Kinloch for his leadership on this resolution and the Wayne County Commission for adding their voices to the dozens of organizations and thousands of impacted residents across Michigan who have been calling for this critical legislation,” said Sean McBrearty, the Michigan director of Clean Water Action, in a statement. “Right now, 1 in 10 Michigan families can’t afford the water coming out of their taps. This is a statewide problem and calls for a statewide solution.”

Additionally, a bill package was introduced in the state house in October by Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) that would create a water affordability program for Michigan residents. The senate and house bills would help people with low or fixed incomes by limiting their monthly water bills to no more than 3% of their income.

Opponents to the bills say the legislation would force people who are able to afford their water bills to pay higher rates in order to subsidize those who can’t.

WDET’s Pat Batcheller contributed to this report.

Other headlines for Monday, Feb. 5, 2024:

  • President Biden is criticizing the Wall Street Journal for publishing an op-ed piece calling Dearborn the “Jihad Capital of America.” Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud increased police patrols around houses of worship Saturday, saying the article sparked an increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric.  
  • Stellantis announced layoffs at Jeep plants in Detroit and Toledo in December that go into effect today
  • More than $87 million in grant funds have been spread across 18 project sites around the state to attract manufacturing plants and jobs to the region. 
  • The Detroit Parent Network is looking for parents for its Parents on Policy Fellowship.
  • Detroit is continuing its outreach to residents around the Joe Louis Greenway planning process with two virtual community meetings set for this week.

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.