State Rep. Jaime Greene today expressed her opposition to a proposal that would force residents to fund a duplicative and unnecessary statewide water assistance program.
Greene, R-Richmond, said legislation introduced in the House and Senate would impose a new monthly fee on municipal water customers in Michigan to help pay the bills of low-income customers. Across the state, residents would be forced to pay out an estimated $70 million in additional fees every year.
“Communities across Michigan, including Macomb County, have already implemented successful water assistance programs tailored to their specific needs,” Greene said. “This legislation forces families to bear the burden of funding an expensive and unnecessary program that duplicates existing efforts. It’s a poorly crafted plan that places a new strain on hardworking families who are already struggling to keep up with the rising cost of their everyday expenses.”
House Bills 5088-5093 and Senate Bills 549-554 would establish a new program requiring water utility companies to dole out lower bills for select customers. Local municipalities would not be given an opportunity to opt out of the program, even though many communities have already established successful programs to assist those who struggle to afford their water bills.
Macomb County residents already pay into the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Water Residential Assistance Program. The program provides up to two years of funding to assist families with water and sewer bills, water conservation, and other self-sufficiency initiatives. The program serves qualifying low-income households within the Great Lakes Water Authority service area, which provides drinking water services for nearly 40 percent of Michigan’s population.
Greene noted that several local municipalities have adopted resolutions opposing the legislation, including the cities of Richmond and Memphis, as well as Lenox Township.
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