For years, several of the community water systems in Oakland Township have been operated and maintained by the Oakland County Water Resource Commission (WRC). Over the years, the ownership of several of these systems (but not all) were officially transferred to the WRC by the Township Boards. At the February 14, 2017 Oakland Township Board meeting, the WRC gave a presentation regarding the possibility of having the ownership of the systems transferred back to the Township. No decision was made at the meeting, but there was significant discussion among the Board members and the public.
One of the reasons this transfer of ownership is being considered is that it would allow the Township to be the final decision maker regarding the location, and configuration, of the now required water storage tanks. If the systems are OWNED and operated by the WRC, Oakland Township loses control over the decision making process.
It was pointed out that the cost for the storage facilities (and possible enhanced water treatment facilities) would be reflected in the rates paid by the property owners serviced by these systems.
Many citizens expressed concern over the possibility of having the water storage facilities located on Park Property. Apparently some of the park properties have restrictions that prevent that from being allowed.
Several citizens expressed concern over the Township taking over the ownership of the systems because the Township would be responsible for any liability associated with the system. It was pointed out that any financial liability associated with the system would lie with the residents who are connected to the system REGARDLESS of the whether it was owned by the WRC or the Township.
Several citizens expressed concern that if the Township owned the water systems, we would need to create a Township Department of Public Works (DPW). The WRC indicated that they currently maintain and operate water systems that are owned by other Oakland County communities on a contractual basis. This could be an option for our Township.
Almost 50% of Oakland Township’s residents are serviced by the water systems in question. They are shown on the attached map.
The Township Board is in the early deliberative process on this subject. They committed that they will put together a summary of the positive and negative aspects of the ownership options.
There will be future discussions regarding this issue in future Township Board meetings.