About two dozen Bay City residents and business owners packed the front sidewalk of city hall armed with signs critical of what they called high water and sewer rates. Steve Beson, a spokesperson for the group, said they were looking for information from city commissioners who were set to meet and hour and a half later at 7:30pm.
We want to take city hall back, he said. Speaking of his own rise in water and sewer costs, he said his bill was on the average $300 or so. Now it is $711 and my business is $2,400 a month. We can TMt even sell a fountain drink for a dollar fifty to make money, he said.
Inside city hall, Mayor Charles Brunner prepared for the regularly scheduled meeting but sat with NBC25 and said, we TMve got to roll up our sleeves and put our heads together and we TMve got to reduce those costs.
Brunner said several issues led to the increases; most notably being the departure of Hampton Township from Bay City TMs water system. The Township board met hours before Bay City TMs commission meeting and unanimously approved a measure that would change bill collection efforts.
Instead of just sending the bills and collecting the money (for Bay City), now we TMre going to go out and read our own meters and we TMre going to do our own billing, said Township Supervisor Terry Spegel.
On the sewer side of the debate, Spegel said the government is building a $30 million sewage pumping system in hopes of eliminating a 35 percent rate increase.
I think it TMs much better for us and I think it TMs much better for the city for the way things are going now, he added. The township is paying about $18 million for the system with the rest coming from loans. Basic operation could start by November.