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Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:01 AM

Not just Detroit: residents of nearby Michigan city face $11,000 water bills

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/06/detroit-water-bills-michigan-highland-park

Highland Park, a small hamlet surrounded by the city of Detroit, has endured a water war of its own with daunting, if not more severe, consequences

Not just Detroit: residents of nearby Michigan city face $11,000 water bills
Ryan Felton in Detroit
Monday 6 July 2015 07.00 EDT

On a recent evening in June, a dozen activists crammed inside the kitchen of Emma Fogle’s home in Highland Park, a small hamlet surrounded by the city of Detroit.

Their city is under siege, they say, faced with the predicament of being cut off from a municipal water supply. The group convened the meeting over deep-dish pizza and soda to hammer out a three-day march to call attention to the issue, set to take place this weekend. In a city whose finances have been controlled by the state of Michigan on and off since the turn of the century, the group had a general consensus on who’s to blame.

~snip~

Since last year, the tribulations of neighboring Detroit’s water shutoff program have drawn significant attention worldwide, as tens of thousands of residents faced the threat of the city turning off their tap for owing as little as $150 in overdue water bills.

But Highland Park has endured a water war of its own with daunting, if not more severe, consequences. Thrust into financial insecurity after decades of disinvestment, the city has a problem that residents say they simply cannot afford: Years of dysfunctional service – inconsistent billing, faulty meters, a constantly changing staff – have resulted in some receiving water bills as high as $11,000. (The median income in the city is $19,311.)

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