A hidden tax on rainfall…
The newly imposed drainage fee charges non-residential property owners $750 per impervious acre of the property. This is not a sewerage fee for treating sewage, but nominally a fee to pay for the cost of draining rainfall from a property. This fee is part of the ongoing fallout of Detroit’s bankruptcy. 400 churches in Detroit are at risk of closure because of this recently imposed fee.
We are building a movement with clergy, congregations, and community to increase water equity throughout Michigan. Clergy: Sign our letter to Mayor Duggan! The purpose of the coalition is for faith-based leaders to work with the DWSD and the City Council to tackle the infrastructure challenges faced by the DWSD. Clergy have the moral responsibility to push this movement forward, and hold policy-makers accountable for their actions. This is not just an issue for churches, growing segments of our community continue to face astronomical water bills and challenges as Detroit suffers the consequences of bankruptcy.
Water Equity Coalition in the News!
MOSES leaders are in direct contact with DWSD to develop a solution that will support our churches and residents.
MOSES’ Question: The area churches have shouldered an increasing share of the social work that comes with maintaining a cohesive community. They have been pressed into service in taking over some of the abandoned properties and buildings, mostly contiguous to their own churches. As such they face extra burden under this drainage fee structure. Yet they are the same entities that can assist DWSD in a broad greening effort to reduce storm water inflow into the combined system. How can the churches best be brought into a collaborative noncombative process of shared information and solutions?
DWSD Response: Mayor Duggan, City Council Members and DWSD Director Brown have directed staff to facilitate a Clergy-Community Drainage Coalition to do just that: conduct a collaborative process of sharing information and solutions. The coalition started its work in November 2016 and is focused specifically on designing practical, legally defensible, and feasible ways for faith-based organizations to reduce their drainage charges. Reporting and recommendations are anticipated by June 2017 – a full 6 months in advance of scheduled changes to how faith-based organizations will be billed for drainage services.
The Coalition adopts the following guiding principles:
The Influence and Decision-Making of Those Most Affected
We believe that communities who are deeply affected by environmental issues should be highly involved throughout the decision-making processes in meaningful and culturally appropriate ways.
We believe that affected communities deserve strong, accountable, transparent, accessible and culturally appropriate solutions that include ongoing oversight of government and other entities to address the negative impacts that these communities have already experienced.