Original users of Brighton Township’s Sanitary Sewer System are frustrated with how their interest rates are matching up against a local church’s.

On Thursday, the township’s Board of Trustees held a special meeting to approve an agreement with the Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church. The church plans to expand its building and it was determined they would need five additional REUs, or residential equivalency units, for their addition. The agreement allows the church to pay their REU charges over time at an interest rate of 5%. This didn’t sit well with some of the sewer system’s original users, specifically long-time critic Bob Potocki, who says he and others are paying at a rate of 5.9%.

Potocki says the prices being charged for the services the system provides exceed market price and feels it is “discriminatory” for developments in the area to be given a lower interest rate.

The original users’ rate is based on a refinance of the sewer bond in 2015. Township documents show a resolution was approved that year to reduce the interest rate on sewer system special assessments to 5.9% from 6.03%. A 4% interest rate for the refinanced bond is called for by the township’s current bond schedule. An additional 1% for administrative fees is applied on top of that, totaling the church’s rate of 5%. Manager Brian Vick says the township’s policy does not require all users be charged the same interest rate and reiterated that later in Thursday’s meeting.

The township’s sewer system has been under fire for many years as its original users allege they have been overcharged in assessment fees. A lawsuit against the township filed by residents demanding a refund is in litigation. (DK)