Council members had been deeply reluctant to approve the increases but on a narrow 4-3 vote decided to approve them with the possibility that U.S. District judge John Feikens, who oversees the system, would unilaterally impose a rate increase.
The rate proposal calls for raising average suburban water rates by at least 8.5%. Detroiters will pay 6.3% more.
Usually on the nine member council, it takes five votes to approve a measure; however, council member Kwame Kenyatta was absent due to an illness that has kept him away from council for several days. Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers was not in the council chamber when the vote occurred, although she was earlier at the meeting.