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City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Ypsi City Council passes water rate increase

Larry Thomas, executive director of YCUA, said an average user will see their bill increase by $1.77. A minimal user faces an increase of 92 cents.   Photo by Jim Cavanaugh

Larry Thomas, executive director of YCUA, said an average user will see their bill increase by $1.77. A minimal user faces an increase of 92 cents.
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Two percent decrease in water surcharge rates also passed

By Jim Cavanaugh
Aug. 20, 2009    ·    8:58 a.m.


Property owners in Ypsilanti could soon face slightly increased water bills. 

City council passed an ordinance on the first reading Tuesday night that calls for a 5.5 percent increase for water usage in the city. That vote passed 5-1, with Mayor Pro tem Trudy Swanson-Winston, D—Ward 1, the only ‘no’ vote. 

Although residents face a 5.5 percent increase, council also passed a 2 percent decrease in water surcharge rates.  

“This is the result of increase in surcharge revenue from the rate increase as well as savings from recent bond refunding efforts,” said Larry Thomas, executive director of the Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority. “The decrease in the surcharge will moderate the effect of the rate increase on the YCUA City Division users.” 

The surcharge assessed by the YCUA does not actually pay for water. Instead, it covers infrastructure and debt-related costs. 

The rate increase, combined with the surcharge decrease, amounts to a total increase of 1.4 percent on each customer’s bi-monthly water bill.  Sewer rates were not increased.  

According to Thomas, an average user will see their bill increase by $1.77. A minimal user faces an increase of 92 cents.   

Thomas listed two reasons for the increase in rates—an increase in the cost of benefits for YCUA retirees and a 9.6 percent rate increase by YCUA’s water provider, the City of Detroit. 

YCUA purchases water from Detroit to provide for its customers and has done so since the 1990s. Right before the purchase agreement with Detroit, the city discovered that many of its wells had been contaminated, largely by a chemical called vinyl chloride, most often found in plastics. 

“The most likely source was the old city landfill,” Thomas said of the contaminants.  “More than likely the water going into our wells was flowing underneath that old landfill.” 

Vinyl chloride has been classified as a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency and is known to cause a rare form of liver cancer. 

Council Member Pete Murdock, D—Ward 3, who served on city council when the city still pumped its own water, remarked that the water in city wells were also becoming increasingly brackish before YCUA started buying water from Detroit. 

“It was getting saltier and saltier,” Murdock said.

Although the ordinance passed, not all were pleased with the rate increase being passed along to customers.  Swanson argued that the city should not have to pay for the increased cost of retiree benefits. 

“Our water usage is getting to be very expensive,” Swanson said, adding that the increase was “a bit hard to swallow.” 

Council Member Michael Bodary, D—Ward 2, inquired as to when YCUA last went looking for another water provider.  Thomas told him there was no other viable provider in the area. 



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