System repairs will raise water rates for Lake Linden users

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The village of Lake Linden’s water management plan calls for significant water rate increases.

LAKE LINDEN — Starting in July residents will see a significant base water rate increase from the $40.52 per bimonthly bill to $60 among other changes.

The move comes as part of the village’s Water System Asset Management Plan, a new Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) mandate for all municipalities. The plan requires financial planning for large-scale improvements using a capital improvement fund — not just day-to-day operations which the current rate covers, said clerk Robert Poirier.

“The council had a difficult decision, but the change had to be made,” he said.

Also changing are usage rates, which will decrease from $4.65 per 1000 gallons to $3.25 per 1000 gallons. Usage will be billed from 0 gallons rather than the current 4000. The new rate will spell around a $14 per month or $28 per bimonthly bill on average.

“This new rate is necessary to meet the minimum level of service detailed by the DEQ,” said Village President Glenn Schuldt, as detailed in a release from the village.

Built in1999, the system will need some repairs on the horizon, said Poirier.

The predicted repairs will be needed in the next 10-15 years, said Dick Supina of Traverse Engineering Services, who developed the plan.

Items include repair and replacement to the roof at the water storage reservoir, well house siding, control upgrades, a well pump replacement, standby generator replacement and hydrant replacement.

The base rate increase is the first since 2013 and has been seen in other regions around the state.

“Rates are being raised across the country in response to failing water infrastructure and new government regulations,” Supina said.

With the change Lake Linden’s rate will be slightly above the average for the U.P., but that number is different based on the infrastructure condition, he said.

“The village rate is determined by need, not by what everybody else is paying. When the government finishes the new lead and copper regulations, most water utilities will be facing what could be substantial rate increases to comply with those regulations,” Supina explained.