What does the $1.5 billion buy mean for Oakland and Oakland County?
A $1 billion buy of boilers for residential, commercial and industrial properties in Oakland and parts of Oakland County could be part of a larger redevelopment plan that includes a major urban renewal project.
The project, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, could also see the closure of many vacant buildings and the construction of a park on a former landfill.
The project was announced in September by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who is expected to announce her plan for the county on Thursday.
“We have to go to a new beginning,” Schaaf said during a news conference at the Oakland County Courthouse.
A $1-billion purchase of boil-water storage would give Oakland residents and businesses a choice about how to manage their water.
The county is seeking a purchase price of about $2.2 billion and a 50-year lease of the assets, which includes boilers and other facilities.
Schaaf said the county is looking at buying boilers to provide an alternative to the existing water supply system that relies on the use of groundwater.
The current system is operated by the California Water Resources Control Board.
She said the buy would provide an option for people to move to other cities, where they would have a better opportunity to utilize water resources.
While the county could sell the boilers at a discount, Schaaf acknowledged that they would be expensive.
If the county does sell the assets to private developers, they would need to build more than 20 new boilers.
She said the state would pay for the project.
One of the biggest obstacles to selling the boil-oil facilities is the water quality issues they cause.
Statewide, the average annual water consumption is about 16 million gallons per person, according to the U-M Center for Water Policy and Research.
In the past two years, the state Department of Water Resources has spent more than $300 million to address water quality concerns.
The agency is working to improve groundwater monitoring in Oakland, where residents have complained of a lack of drinking water.
Oakland County has an estimated population of 2.4 million.
The city of Oakland, which has about 14,000 residents, has about 8,000, according the county.