Recently, the Michigan State Appeals Court ruled that the Metro Detroit's regional water authority can collect more than $19 million in unpaid water bills from the City. Now, Highland Park is urging the City to reconsider.
According to the appeals court judges, if the court were to accept the interpretation of the federal statute, "the city of Detroit would be left with no avenue by which to enforce its judgment and Highland Park would be relieved of its obligations. This would be contrary to this Court's pronouncement that 'municipal corporations have the same obligation as any person or body corporate to satisfy judgments rendered against them.'"
This is not the beginning of Highland Park's water bill issues with finances. A financial emergency was declared three years ago as well as between 2001 and 2009.
In April 2015, a judge ruled that the City was required to pay the water utility, which Highland Park appealed.
To offset the shortfall of Highland Park, other community customers have had to pay increased sewer rates, including an increased sewage charge of around 5% this May.
The ruling of the Court goes to show that regardless of a municipal employee's failure to account properly, residents of communities are still required to pay for the public services they receive.