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Court rules Highland Park must reimburse GLWA for missed payments

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Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

A Wayne County court has ruled that Highland Park must pay the Great Lakes Water Authority for a year of missed water payments.

The two sides have been battling in court for years. Highland Park claims the GLWA has been overcharging it for water and sewer services.

The city contends that it should only be paying rates agreed to in 1996, when the city of Detroit provided its water. Last year, Highland Park stopped putting water payments in escrow, supposedly because of the overcharges.

Now, Wayne County judge David Groner has ruled the city can’t do that. He ordered Highland Park to make a year’s worth of escrow payments based on current water and sewer revenues, and to continue doing so.

But the ruling didn’t settle the larger issue of whether the GLWA has been overcharging Highland Park. The city claims it has been overcharged to the tune of $54 million, and separate ongoing litigation is trying to settle that.

In a statement, the GLWA said that “While this is a big step forward, it is not a final order, and we will continue to pursue full recovery of amounts due from Highland Park and manage this case through its final resolution.”

A number of communities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, which GLWA serves as a regional water utility, have rebelled against paying higher rates to make up for the Highland Park debt.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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