GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — A plan for improvements of the wastewater treatment plant in Grand Ledge has been in the works for over a year.
Monday night, a final project plan was approved by the City Council. The plan includes an increase in water and sewer rates for Grand Ledge residents to pay for the work.
“For my family of five, they switched to a 30-day cycle and now we are paying on average, I would say, $130 for water and stewer,” said Grand Ledge resident Nate Chesher. “That’s steep.”
The total costs are almost $55 million for plant upgrades and improvements to the distribution system and water supply.
“The recommendation said that sewage would increase by a little over $40, and the water would increase by $19,” said Grand Ledge Resident Charles Hoffmeyer.
That’s an increase of almost $60 a month for the average user.
“I think we pay a lot for water right now…for not the best quality,” Chesher said. “I'm not the type to get super fired off and I’ll go with the flow, I guess, but that's going to be a hard pill to swallow.”
Most equipment at the plant is from 1975 and is aging.
On one hand, most residents agree that improvements need to happen.
“The water has always been very, very, very hard in Grand Ledge,” Chesher said. “You have to have a water softener in the city, or it ruins your appliances, and your laundry comes out terrible.”
On the other hand, they are hoping for other solutions.
“From what I've seen online and talking to my neighbors, everybody rolls their eyes at the cost of water in the city,” Chesher said. “I'd like to see Grand Ledge just tie into Board of Water and Light resources.”
City Manager Adam Smith said in a statement to Fox 47 that “the water and sewer rates are set with each fiscal year based on the actual operation costs of the public utility through a rate study in partnership with the Michigan Rural Water Association.”
This would include debt payments, which would entail the current project costs. However, during Monday night’s Council meeting, he said that he doesn’t believe we know what the actual costs are yet. According to Smith, it still depends on bids, interest rates, and possible funding from the state.
The final project plans for the sewer improvements are going to be submitted until June 1 and for water improvements until July 1.
The sewer improvement construction is planned to start in May 2023 and last until January 2026, while the water improvement construction is planned to start in January 2023 and last until January 2025.
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