The Orchard Lake City Council voted Monday, Oct. 15 to approve a resolution to eliminate the capital water and sewer charge paid by each resident once the water and sewer system project debt is satisfied on Dec. 31, 2012.
As part of financing the 1995 water and sewer project, each residential homeowner is charged a quarterly fee of $60 ($240 annually) to pay off the debt.
As of Jan. 1, 2013 the yearly $240 will no longer be collected, except from those who took out 20-year loans at the onset of the project and have not yet satisfied their debt. This collection will be earmarked into a maintenance fund held by Oakland County, which handles maintenance repairs for the city.
“In the sense of fairness, anyone who owes money should repay their debt so those dollars will go into the ongoing water and sewer maintenance fund,” said Joe Majcher, the city’s mayor pro tem and a member of its Water and Sewer Committee.
Currently there is about $300,000 in the maintenance account.
The Water and Sewer Committee — comprised of Majcher and City Council Members Jackie Beach and Mark Hoffman — had considered whether to continue the capital fee collection to build up the reserve for capital improvements, or to eliminate the capital charge altogether.
The committee forwarded its recommendation to the City Council that the charge be eliminated and, if necessary, adjust the water and sewer rate schedule maintenance fee to bolster the reserve.
“We decided it was not appropriate or right to allocate money to the ongoing fund so we made the decision that once the debt is paid off, we will discontinue collecting it except for those who still owe their debt payment,” Majcher said.
Residents will continue to pay a fee of roughly 50 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of usage that will be held in reserve for maintenance repairs.