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The original item was published from 2/9/2017 3:56:57 PM to 5/10/2017 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: February 9, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Official City of Sterling Heights Statement

The City of Sterling Heights has retained the law firm of Sullivan, Ward, Asher & Patton as special legal counsel for issues arising from the failure of the 15 Mile Road interceptor

Sullivan Ward has extensive experience in all aspects of construction law, including underground infrastructure. 

Due to the complexity of identifying the cause or causes and the legal issues that will arise from these findings, the City owes a duty to its residents and businesses to fully-investigate who should ultimately bear the financial burden for the third catastrophic failure of the 15 Mile Road interceptor in the past 40 years.  

“We simply cannot pass along costs to our rate payers that may have been avoided by due care and timely maintenance of the 15 Mile Road interceptor,” said Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “We have a legal responsibility to thoroughly investigate the cause of this catastrophic failure, determine if it was preventable, and pursue appropriate remedies for our residents and businesses.” 

At an estimated repair cost of $100 million, Sterling Heights ratepayers could be responsible for $32 million, which after financing costs are applied, could double to over $60 million. A major industrial property owner in Sterling Heights could be responsible for over $2 million of the costs.  Resident bills could go up by more than 5 percent for the next 30 years to cover Sterling Heights’ proportionate share. 

“Rate payers are justifiably price sensitive to any increases in water and sewer bills,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “City officials must do all that is possible to control costs.”

This effort is not intended to impede the progress in repairing the latest catastrophic failure that is essential to bringing relief to the affected residents and businesses in Fraser. The City of Sterling Heights is appreciative to the efforts of all parties involved in effectuating the repairs to the current sink hole and continues to provide assistance as needed.  

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