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Marquette Township, Marquette to study water rate system costs

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Township Board unanimously approved the expenditure of not more than $14,785 for its portion of a joint water rate study with the city of Marquette during a recent meeting.

The total cost of the study, which the city and township will share equally, should not exceed $29,750, agenda materials state.

According to a 2009 water supply contract between the township and the city, the study is to be conducted every three years. The last time it was conducted was in 2017.

Conducting the study will be Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc., a certified municipal adviser specializing in rate management and operational consulting for water, wastewater and stormwater utilities.

The Marquette City Commission approved the city’s portion of the proposal during its Oct. 28 meeting.

The city provides treated Lake Superior water for about half of the township, an area known as the Cox District, which includes Trowbridge Park and portions of the commercial district along U.S. 41.

The district has a million-gallon water reservoir along Cox Avenue that sources water from the city.

The study will determine the net share of expenses between the municipalities for operation, maintenance and delivery of the water system as well as depreciation and the rate of return on utility assets.

The water rate the city charges to the township is determined based on the actual cost to the city to acquire and deliver the water to the Cox water tank.

According to the February 2017 study results, township rates had increased about 2% per year between 2014 and 2017.

The township will pay for its portion of the study from its water fund.

In addition to the Cox water tank, the township operates and maintains five water production wells, a 55-mile distribution network of water mains supplying five pressure districts, 800 fire hydrants, three water storage tanks totaling 1.52 million gallons and three water pumping stations supplying over 1,100 metered customers with drinking water, the township website states.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.