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Water proposal floated by Chelsea official to Sylvan Township supervisor

Chelsea City Council Member Frank Hammer has dusted off an old proposal that could provide a starting point in helping Sylvan Township deal with its debt-ridden water system.

Hammer has been a long-time member of the city’s ad hoc committee, which has been in discussions with township officials regarding the township’s water system. He said he recently brought the proposal to Township Supervisor Bob Lange.

“Frank and I have been having conversations,” Lange said, adding, “I think this proposal shows a lot of consideration for both Sylvan and Chelsea.”

In fact, Hammer said, an almost identical plan was first proposed to township officials in 2006, but at the time, it wasn’t given much consideration.

Since then, the township lost a lawsuit brought by developers, and is on the hook for about $12.5 million in bonds, and other debt, for a sewer and water system that most of the township can’t use and doesn’t have enough customers to support.

In August, township residents narrowly approved a ballot proposal by seven votes to tax themselves 4.4 mills for the next 20 years to pay off the debt.

Here’s a look at some of the key points in the proposal.

  • The city would take over the 100-plus water customers currently on the water system, and pay for the inter-connection (between the two systems) via the tap fees paid by the residents, with a final tap fee to be determined.
  • The city would use and maintain the Sylvan water tower, the water lines and “try to keep the pumps in working order,” according to the proposal, but the reverse osmosis system would be shut down, at least temporarily.
  • The city would bill the township for those repairs and maintenance. Sylvan Township would bill its and pay the city for water, plus add a 10-percent administrative fee to the bills.
  • The township would be permitted to expand service within its borders at the city’s current tap fee rate, plus an administrative fee, and the township would pay the city for the tap fees.
  • When an expansion is needed in the township service area, the city would bring the RO system back online, and Sylvan would be responsible for half the cost. The city would be paid 2/3rds of the water rate, because the Sylvan RO system would be 1/3 of the system, according to the proposal.
  • The township and the city would establish a joint water board to run the joint system. In the future, the city would be willing to discuss shifting the sewer lines from Leoni Township and re-routing them to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  At this point, the township and city may wish to create a joint water and sewer board.
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4 thoughts on “Water proposal floated by Chelsea official to Sylvan Township supervisor”

  1. There’s no mention here of who pays the existing debts on the Sylvan water system. Also, haven’t the “100-plus water customers currently on the water system” already paid a tap fee?

  2. This proposal (maybe there is more too it?) has me a little concerned that those of us on the Sylvan Township water system will keep getting hit the hardest. 🙁 To answer the question above, Yes. The tap in fees have already been paid to Sylvan Township for Sylvan water & sewer consumption. It sounds like the proposal discussed here would mean we would be charged to tie into the City or “joint” system too. The current City water tap in fee is $6900.00 per home. Would we pay that or something less? In addition the 4.4 mils we (Sylvan residents) are all getting assessed to pay off the debt isn’t going anywhere.

    What is not mentioned in this proposal is how much we would have to pay monthly/quarterly for water consumption on the joint system. Would we be assessed at the current Chelsea rate or still be forced to pay the ridiculously high rates we are assessed by Sylvan? As well as, will those of us re-directed (101 homes) onto the “joint” system be annexed into the City of Chelsea?

    I suspect this proposal has been dusted off and is being revisited now because Sylvan Township residents are solely responsible for paying off the tower debt and The City of Chelsea has no responsibility to help, making this deal very adventitious for Chelsea.

  3. This proposal does not seem to do anything special, except to hijack the Sylvan Water System. I see no mention of Chelsea’s purchase of the facility (thus reducing the 4.4 mils that goes toward the reduction of debt). I do not see where there is any benefit to the Township, especially the residents who currently receive the water services. Additionally, while Mr. Lange is currently the Supervisor of the Township, he may not be in the near future.

    Any proposal to change the water system should not be agreed upon by Township leadership who may not be in office after January 1, 2013. The way I read what has been published, it seems that the current customers of the system, once again will be paying for the system, while Township residents who do not, will be off the hook. We all need to remember, this system was approved by a board elected by the Township residents and not by the developers and others who talked them into it. Unfortunately, it is the entire Township’s responsibility to settle the debt.

  4. This proposal that is stated here by Hammer is way out dated. MR. Hammer said at a city council meeting after this was printed that he gave out the “wrong verbage”. This proposal was given to the township in 2005 or 2006 and was turned down. Mike Willams was supervisor at that time. So, as Hammer admitted,it is an old one and not been given to the township since than. I can see why it was turned down,here is nothing there to help the township with the debt. In fact it looks like more money that the township would be liable to pay to the city. I hope this new board does not even consider this proposal. In fact, it was wrong of Hammer to put it out there the way he did right at election time. He knew it was wrong and after it was printed said so at the city council meeting.

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