Michigan House Republicans
St. Germaine threatens to leave Capitol bathroom faucets running to protest additional water utility fee
RELEASE|March 7, 2024

State Rep. Alicia St. Germaine on Friday announced her opposition to legislation that would tack on an additional monthly fee to water utility bills in order to fund a new statewide payment assistance program.

“We already have a successful regional program here in Macomb County to help low-income households who cannot afford to pay their own water bills,” said St. Germaine, R-Harrison Township. “I understand the intent behind this legislation, but it’s not right to force residents who are already paying a fee for this very purpose to pay another, additional fee on top of that to cover other areas.”

The Democrat-sponsored legislation would charge customers an additional $2 per month per water meter in order to raise approximately $72M annually. That extra fee would then increase by 10 percent each year until it reaches $3 per water meter per month.

Customers of the Great Lakes Water Authority, however, already pay a fee to fund the Water Residential Assistance Program, which provides assistance to Macomb County residents.

“Water utility bills are already too expensive,” St. Germaine said. “Customers that pay to fund a local assistance program should at least get an exemption from the new statewide fee.”

St. Germaine represents the 62nd House district, which includes all of Harrison Township and Fraser, and portions of Roseville, St. Claire Shores, Clinton Township, and Chesterfield Township. All of those communities have already unanimously passed resolutions opposing the additional water fee except for Fraser, which is expected to pass a resolution at its next meeting in March.

The Macomb County Board of Commissioners likewise already passed a resolution in opposition to this plan.

“I’m optimistic for now that the legislation is not going to pass as is, because a lot of lawmakers from both parties are voicing their concerns. But if I have to, I will turn on every faucet in every bathroom in the Capitol building and leave them running to protest,” St. Germaine said.

“I’m probably joking about leaving the water running. But without an opt-out for Macomb County water customers, this legislation is a non-starter with me. I’m not kidding about that,” St. Germaine said.

Senate Bills 549-554 and House Bills 5088-5093 are currently in committee.

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