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A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT: We Welcome the Water Affordability Plan!
By Maureen D. Taylor
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization

Reposted from the Michigan Citizen 8/27/06

Dear Detroiters! Finally, the “little” one is about to arrive after so long a wait, and we are happy to announce this birth! This has been a complicated pregnancy, requiring the entire city to go on bed-rest to guarantee a live and healthy delivery. Questions of paternity, and even maternity were and still are being raised by those who want to claim this delivery, but we know who it belongs to!

“Baby-daddy” concerns are not new, but we have been able to over-look these distractions and stay focused on this coming birth, and the water has started to break.

The three mid-wives on Detroit City Council, nurses [JoAnn] Watson, [Barbara Rose] Collins and [Brenda] Jones, have led the process to sign off on the Plan, and despite attempts to harm this infant development by the Water Dept., we are close to the roll-out date.

Now, this is not the child we were praying for, but it is the one that we are delivering. It’s not as tall, or as deep, or as wide as we wanted, but it is the one that survived all harmful attempts. It’s a Caesarian birth, because a natural process was prevented. Here is what your baby looks like.

The “birth” announcements are starting to surface in your homeowner water bills, and the language is alarming on purpose. The birth-parents agreed to ask each bill payer to agree to a $1/month extra charge, or $12/year which would go into a fund. The Water Dept. has already put in $5 million dollars to start this fund, and will put in that same minimum amount every year.

What you contribute is that $12 per resident household which is the foundation of the Water Affordability Plan. Here’s what happens next.

All residential water customers who earn up to 175 percent over the national poverty level are eligible for enrollment into the Plan. These households would be entitled to pay a monthly, small amount, which would be matched (in part) from the foundation dollars and that amount would be their water payment.

Those who have no water service, would be reconnected, and there would be NO MORE mass water disconnections in Detroit because people are too poor to pay.

Those who earn more than 175% over the poverty level would be offered entry into the program at a slightly higher rate per month.

There is a similar structure set up for schools, for churches, for small and large businesses as well, as baby is inclusive. In the next few weeks, we will print the telephone number in the Michigan Citizen where residents can call for enrollment steps.

The Water Affordability Plan took many years, many months, many anxious moments along the way. We have parted company with old friends and made new ones while we stood and protected this new initiative.

Soon, we will be the proud parents of a newborn and all should stand in wonder at what Detroit has done. This birth is being announced all over the state, so cloning is on the way. Marianne would be so happy.

Congratulations, Detroit!

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