2015-07-05 / Front Page

Misteguay Creek drain board seeks to resolve funding, easement challenges

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

ALBEE TWP. – The Misteguay Creek Inter- County Drain Board met Monday, June 29 with the primary goals of resolving challenges with funding and easements. Both are complicated issues that were not fully resolved, but some progress was made.

Chairman Michael Gregg, who represents the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, explained that the project financier prefers that the note be paid in full.

“This board has used up the funds,” he said.

Trence Donnelly of Dickinson Wright PLLC reported that the outstanding note is for $800,000 at .85 percent. The note is due on Aug. 1. The financier does not want to extend the agreement.

Donnelly said, “I approached a financial institution, one that expressed an interest.” That financial institution is willing to loan the drain district $195,000 for up to 18 months with the stipulation that all three counties sign a full faith and credit agreement. The interest rate on this loan is expected to be “less than 2.5 percent,” Donnelly said.

Gregg said, “That’s a very positive development.”

Gregg talked about the current situation where two of the three counties are represented by alternates. Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner Brian Wendling owns property within the Misteguay district. As a result, Saginaw County is represented by Midland County Drain Commissioner Doug Enos.

Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner Anthony Newman owns property within the district. As a result, Ionia County Drain Commissioner John Bush is representing Shiawassee County.

Genesee County Deputy Drain Commissioner Jim Gerth is representing Genesee County.

Each of the three counties will have to sign the full faith credit agreement for the project to obtain funding through the new financier.

There was a brief discussion about provisions in Michigan Law for billing drainage district property owners, in the event that the project does not go through. The Michigan State Legislature has been contacted about clarifying the law where inter-county drains are concerned.

Meanwhile the Misteguay Creek Inter-County Drain District has $3,339 left in its budget. As of June 29, the district had outstanding legal fees of $5,642; plus owing Spicer Group $55,954. Gregg said, “Hopefully, we’ll be in a position to honor these invoices in September.”

In other discussion during the June 29 meeting, a previous resolution by the board came into question when it came to obtaining easements. The board had previously voted in favor of not compensating property owners for easements, nor pursuing condemnation against those which did not agree to the new easements.

Joe Albosta of Albee Township asked how Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner Brian Wendling is supposed to approach property owners to obtain easements.

“His hands are tied,” Albosta said. The project engineer recommended replacing the flap gates, however at a previous meeting, the drainage board voted not to replace the flap gates.

Wendling asked the board to consider the actual cost of putting the flap gates back into the project. Hansen agreed to calculate a rough estimate on the cost of the flap gates. The drainage board agreed on consensus to obtain information on the flap gates. Gregg then said to Hansen, “We are conscious of your time, as we have no funds to pay you.”

Albosta also informed the group that one property owner stands to lose 80 acres of farmland to easements with the proposed plan; yet the board had voted not to compensate landowners.

Newman stated that he was going through the drain district easements established in 1960. There was no compensation to property owners, just the benefit of the drain.

Gregg responded, “That may very well be true.”

Newman added that the district did, however, proceed with condemnation throughout Shiawassee County.

Wendling reported that all of the landowners effected by easements for the project have been notified, although one property is tied up in probate due to a death.

The next meeting of the Misteguay Creek Inter-County Drain Board is Wednesday, July 29, at 10 a.m. at the Albee Township Hall.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Tri-County Citizen, All Rights Reserved