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Ahee

Councilman changes tune


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June 05, 2014
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Ripples are coming from council chambers to alter the city's 30-year contract to buy filtered water from Detroit.

When a unanimous city council approved terms in June 2010, Mayor Ted Kedzierski and Councilman Dan Schulte were in their first years of office, although Kedzierski was still a councilman.

Now Schulte says the Shores ought to build its own filtration plant.

"I'm talking about pumping our own water," he said.

"Where would you put it?" asked Councilman Robert Gessell, referring to the plant.

"Where the park is," Schulte said. "The building doesn't have to be that big."

He didn't offer cost projections.

By comparison, Grosse Pointe Park representatives in January announced studies to build a filtration plant for $15 million.

Back in the Shores, city attorney Brian Renaud is seeing if the Shores can opt out of the Detroit contract.

Negotiations for the deal started two years before ratification and involved engineering studies, long council meetings and discussions about alternatives to purchasing water from Detroit.

Options, and their total costs over 30 years, listed from least to most expensive, were:

1. Buying water from the Farms, helping fund expansion of the Farms filtration plant at the intersection of Moross and Grosse Pointe Boulevard, and building a 500,000 gallon, 40-foot-tall water storage tank in the Shores: $25,773,001;

2. Buying water through Grosse Pointe Woods, a Detroit water customer, and sharing at least an 800,000 gallon tank: $26,636,089;

3. Buying water through the Woods and building a 300,000 gallon tank in the Shores: $27,792,308;

4. Renegotiating new rates with Detroit and not building a tank: $27,764,804;

5. Remaining a Detroit customer and building a 300,000 gallon storage tank in the Shores: $28,443,594 or

6. Remaining with Detroit and not building a storage tank: $30,921,360.

The Farms deal was rejected due to opposition to a tank, to be erected either at Osius Park or at Schroeder Field behind city hall, plus costs of expanding infrastructure.

The Woods options failed, in part, from opposition to a tank.

Shores officials have sought alternatives to the Detroit water department for more than a decade.

In late 2003, tired of repeated water price increases, former Shores Councilman Dr. Brian Hunt prompted a multi-city engineering study establishing a separate, suburban regional water system.

Communities in Macomb and Oakland counties, including Pontiac, joined in.

Support ended when engineers determined the price exceeded $1 billion.

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