Highland Park’s Water Woes Reach New Depths

Highland Park’s water woes are showing no signs of letting up and could lead to the city defaulting on its own bills to the City of Detroit.

Inconsistent billing by the city’s water department has resulted in some residents going months without receiving a water bill. Citing issues with the city’s water treatment plant, Mayor DeAndre Windom arranged to have Detroit provide Highland Park residents with city water starting in December 2012.

Concerned about the future of the city’s water system and the possibility of defaulting on water payments to Detroit, Highland Park’s city council voted on April 15 to restore its own water system. Mayor Windom vetoed that move and council was unable to reach the supermajority needed to overturn the veto at their May 6 meeting. At that meeting council member Rodney Patrick said Highland Park owed the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department $389,000.

He expressed deep concerns about Highland Park’s ability to pay its own debts.

“I can’t imagine Detroit’s going to shut us off,” he said. “But I will tell you what’s probably going to happen. We don’t pay it. They sue us. We go to court. We’ll fight. They’ll win, and these amounts I just told you will be broken up and put on our taxes. Because it’s a judgement that we have to pay. They’re going to get that money one way or another.”