HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — Surrounded by some of the largest fresh bodies of water in the country, many Michigan cities still struggle to provide their residents with safe and affordable drinking water.
That irony is especially painful in Highland Park, Michigan, an enclave city surrounded by Detroit, may be facing bankruptcy over tens of millions of dollars in water bills — the costly aftermath of a financial crisis that left residents without a working water plant.
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Highland Park Mayor Glenda McDonald asked the city council to approve hiring an attorney to help prepare for its mediation in May over its water debt with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). When the council did not approve this request, the mayor declared a state of emergency and asked the state to approve an expedited bankruptcy to get their financial affairs in order.
“Highland Park’s annual water and sewer bills of $7,000,000, and growing, are almost as much as our total property tax collections of $9,000,000 per year,” McDonald said in a statement in April.
McDonald also said it is “unjust and unconscionable” for 2,000 households in Highland Park