Signs are popping up all over Delhi Township urging voters to vote no on a proposed $5.1 million sludge dryer that would dry sludge and turn it into something that could be sold for fuel.
"The wastewater treatment plant that we have now is a modern, good facility," Delhi Township Trustee, Jerry Ketchum, said.
"We can solve the costs, escalating costs, of transporting liquid sludge," Delhi Township Manager, John Elsinga, said.
Currently, Delhi Township pays to have its sludge taken to farms in the area and distributed at ground level to help crops grow. Now, Delhi Township officials have been presented an opportunity to make money from the sludge.
"By drying it it gives us the opportunity to go to power plants like Michigan State University and Lansing BWL," Elsinga said.
Those plants would be eligible to buy the dried sludge from Delhi Township, but the proposed $5.1 million dryer is going to be paid for by the taxpayers.
"That $5.1 million is eligible for 51% grants. So the township only has to reimburse the $2.6 million," Elsinga said.
"Residents have already paid taxes to put that money in the pot for grants," Ketchum argued. "This is the wrong time to spend $2.6 million and pass it on to the residents of the township to pay back."
Delhi Township would pay off the remaining money by raising sewage bills by $15 a year for the next 20 years.
Supporters say this is the time to act because these grants are only going to be good right now.
"We transition from a liability in liquid sludge and paying to get rid of it to creating an asset to where we'd be paid to use it as a renewable resource," Elsinga said.
"I don't think we should be spending money on things that aren't needed at this point," Ketchum said.
Both supporters and opponents do agree that there is no guarantee that Michigan State University or Lansing BWL will buy the sludge.