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Highland Park, Michigan
In June 2004, the Highland Park City Council rejected the proposed 10-year privatization contract for water management. Highland Park is a largely low-income neighborhood in the Detroit metro area. The vote happened after a heated public debate when it was revealed that the contract included a bottled water measure where the company, RWG (Rothchild-Wright Group Inc), would be allowed to use water from the public reservoir for bottled water sales. RWG has no experience in managing water operations and the proposed contract was offered as a non-bid contract. Michigan’s state legislation makes non-bid contracts illegal.
The Highland Park manager continues to push for the contract. The manager is appointed by the state of Michigan because Highland Park has state oversight; the manager can therefore potentially overrule the democratic vote of the council. Stay tuned as the battle to preserve Highland Park’s water continues.
Read related stories on the Detroit page.
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