Kalamazoo City Commission Hears Utilitiy, HUD Proposals

Feb 10, 2014

The Kalamazoo City Commission hears a proposal on utility rates at their Feb. 10, 2014 meeting.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo residents could see changes in the cost of water and sewer service this year. That’s if the city accepts a proposal a consulting group says would make its utility costs more sustainable over time.

The city commission heard the details of the plan, prepared by the Foster Group, Thursday evening. It would raise the city’s sewer utility revenue about two percent and water revenue by three percent.

According to the proposal, residential and commercial consumers in the city would see their water charge decrease but their sewer costs go up. For those outside Kalamazoo, it’s just the opposite: water becomes more expensive but sewer service less so.

City Manager Jim Ritsema says the commission will likely decide whether to approve the plan in April.

City commissioners also heard a proposal on how to spend the money Kalamazoo receives in federal Housing and Urban Development, or HUD funding.

City planners say they expect this year’s award from HUD to total a little more than two and a quarter million dollars. Community Development Compliance Specialist Julie Johnston says in the 2014 plan, the city and community groups would split the total money from HUD approximately fifty-fifty as they have in previous years.

But the city would reserve a greater portion of the biggest subsection of funds for its own programs than previously. Johnston says the city’s HUD initiatives include programs for youth and a plan to demolish blighted buildings. The commission is likely to make its final decision on the funding breakdown in April or May.