By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – With Michigan’s COVID-19 moratorium lifted on water shutoffs, Department of Public Works Director Larrie Ordus asked the City Council May 19 if it wanted to proceed with water shutoff notices.
While the state moratorium, driven by pandemic health concerns, expired March 31, the city of Detroit has extended its shutoff moratorium until the end of the calendar year.
Nearby Dearborn has a long-standing policy of not shutting off water to occupied houses.
Ordus explained the impact of non-payment on his department.
“Last year, we put almost double what we usually put – even more than doubled – what we rolled over to taxes,” he said. “It’s really went up, so, a lot of money that gets rolled over is hard to come by to put in the water fund.”
Ordus asked the council if it wanted to proceed with shutoffs, or extend the moratorium, which the body declined to do.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said as much as he hates to say it, he directed Ordus to issue shutoff notices.
Ordus said he wanted to let the council members know before they started getting phone calls from upset residents.
“We will proceed like we used to, as far as shutoffs go,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-13th District) are hoping to enact a national moratorium on water shutoffs at least until the end of the pandemic health crisis.