Price for lagoon repairs doubles in Denmark Twp.
DENMARK TWP. — The estimated cost of repairs needed for the Richville sewer system’s lagoon was daunting at an estimated $800,000.
Denmark Township, owner of that sewer system, just learned that price has nearly doubled, thanks to additional work that needs to be done.
The township board, at its Feb. 27 meeting, learned the township will have to drain the two cells, suction the sludge out and remove the soil that has fallen into the lagoon before repairs can begin. The to-do list also calls for improving the road leading to the lagoon because it isn’t built to handle the heavy trucks needed for the project.
The new price for all of this work is now $1.5 million.
“A lot of that is due to the horrendous increase in construction costs,” Supervisor Charles Heinlein said. “The price of fuel, the price of everything has gone up.”
And the township has just the $300,000 given the township from Tuscola County’s $10.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to spend on the repairs.
“We have to move ahead on this thing,” Heinlein said.
On Feb. 27 the board also decided to hire the Bay City-based engineering firm Fleis and Vandenbrink. The engineers not only will determine what needs to be done, but also will be seeking bids from contractors to determine what the actual costs would be.
“These (the numbers) are just estimates right now,” Heinlein said.
Heinlein said he understands the bids could be worthless if the township can’t come up with the funding to do the work. But the township is working to get some grants to help fund the project.
“I haven’t got time to wait,” he said. “I do not have time to wait. It’s got to be done.”
And if the work can’t be done, if the funding can’t be found then the township may have to close the sewer system and force all of the 135 current users to go back to septic systems. And he’s one of those current users.
“It is an option,” he said, “but it isn’t an option.”
The system was built in 2007 and funded by the sale of 40-year bonds. The township still owes another 25 years of payments, or about $3.1 million left to be paid off. If the township can’t secure grants or other sources of funding for the lagoon repairs, the only other choice would be to bond the cost.
“It has to be done,” he said. “The bonding is my last resort.
“It all hinges on funding. We have to have funding. I can’t have the residents of Richville saddled with another $1.5 million atop of the bond they already are paying. I have to get some relief here someplace.”
Heinlein said he still hopes the sewer lagoon can be renovated this summer.
“There again it depends on funding, on grant funding if we can get it,” Heinlein said.
“We do not have a choice. We will repair this thing.”
The township board also:
■ Set the cemetery cleanup for 8 a.m. to noon May 13, with an alternate date of May 20. Lunch will be provided.
■ Received a letter from county clerk Jodi Fetting that the township earned high marks for its work at November’s last election.
■ Is seeking bids for the four exit doors at the new township office building, which was built over the past two years. The doors that were installed were for residential use, not the commercial use of the office building. And one of them swings the wrong direction. “These might be fire resistant, but they are not up to the (building) code,” Heinlein said.
■ Learned Bob Traver, the cemetery sexton, is working on fixing the cupola taken down from the circa-1923 township hall razed in November. The plan is to pour a foundation near the garage door of the new office building on which to place the cupola and the bell that were part of the hall, which started its life as a school.
■ Learned the planning commission has begun its review and update of the township’s master plan. The plan is reviewed and updated every five years.
■ Set board of review meetings for 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. March 13 and 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. March 15.
■ Approved connecting the new St. Michael’s Hall to the sewer system.
■ Approved a resolution that will allow students from St. Michael’s Lutheran School and child care to use the township office building as a place to the take the students in the event of an emergency. That means the township office building will be getting changing tables in the restrooms and will store water and other supplies that might be needed in the event of an emergency. “I really don’t want to see those kids crossing M-15 (to reach St. Michael Lutheran Church),” Heinlein said, “especially during an emergency.”
■ Will be seeking bids from five firms for turf maintenance at the office building, the fire department, the cemetery and the sewer lagoon.
■ Approved two parcel divisions, one for Mark and Collette Bauer that allows Kent Bauer to create 1.45-acre and 1.26-acre parcels from the original land, leaving Mark and Collette Bauer with 76.4 acres. The second parcel split was for James and Janet Hecht.
■ Will be sending four board members to the Michigan Townships Association conference April 17-20 in Traverse City.
■ Learned last summer’s paving of the two miles of Quanicassee Road north of M-81 cost the township about $11,000 less than originally expected. Those funds will go back into the budget.