Detroit, MI – On July 1, 2014, new water and sewage rates will be applied and Detroit’s water bills will be increased by 8.7%. The Detroit City Council voted in favor of this increase, amidst criticism from the public about their efforts to shut off the water services of negligent customers.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Detroit’s water department said it would, “target customers whose bills are more than two months late and would shut off about 3,000 customers a week.”
Many are taking the initiative to speak their opinion about the current state of affairs in Detroit, using Social Media.
Kathy Ward posted on Facebook, “This is just insane. If someone is that destitute that they truly cannot afford their water bill, there are already welfare programs in place for that. I’m guessing those same people not paying their water also have a TV, cable, I-phone, etc. People need to get their priorities straight, not expect another government handout.”
According to CBS Detroit, there is talk that the United Nations might help the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department provide service to struggling customers, but nothing has been decided as of late.
Rodney Carter took to Facebook to write, “Call President Obama. He has plenty of taxpayers’ cash to spend. Wasn’t that a campaign promise he made along with free rent and gas and payin’ my car note…Socialism only works if there is someone to pay for it.”
While the nation’s average water bill is about $40 a month, Detroit’s average rate is about $75 a month, according to the Free Press. Of course the issue becomes cyclical. Detroit charges so much for water so that paying customers can offset those who don’t pay. The high rates become a form of redistribution in and of themselves.
“If there are programs available to help these families, I am all for it. God has blessed me with ability to pay my bills so being hateful towards those who aren’t able is just not in me,” Calvin Adkins posted on Facebook. “Yes, there are able bodies out there abusing the system. And those individuals should be sought out. But before we go after those people, how about we go after the real welfare abusers. The elected officials, oil companies, insurance companies, banks, Wall Street. Because those abusers are the biggest beneficiaries of our hard work and tax dollars. Stop kicking those who are already down.”
Curtrise Garner, a spokesperson for Detroit’s water department, agrees water is “a God-given right.” However, she says there is still the cost of moving water from its resource to the customer, which must be paid.
“We do have programs that do help those that are just totally in need,” said Garner. “If they do contact us we are willing to speak with them.”
Garner went on to point out that there were still customers who may not have as great of a need for funding as they claimed. She explained, “We know this because, once we shut water off, the next day they are in paying the bill in full. So we do know that that has become a habit as well.”
“We owe it to the customers that are paying to collect from those that aren’t. Somebody has to pay for the water,” said Garner.