2011-09-22 / Front Page

Residents to front portion of bill for drain project

810-452-2645  adurish@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — Burton residents will be left unsure about a hike in their sewer bills for the next few days at least.

Residents and the city are expected to share costs with the county on a Gilkey Creek improvement assessment that will be bid out tomorrow.

“It’s going to improve flooding problems,” said Department of Public Works Director Greg Kray.

The project was originally devised in 2004 but this year’s spring and summer floods in the area have hastened the project.

The Genesee County Drain Commissioner’s office plans on building a 15-acre retention pond in the middle of property near Gilkey Creek that was purchased over a year ago.

The project will impact Gilkey Creek from Atlas Township to Burton’s branch of the creek that crosses Center Road. From there, the creek flows into the Flint River near the armory. Since Flint owns it own sewer system, improvements will not be made on the outdated system across Flint city limits.

Currently, the cost of the Gilkey Creek improvements are estimated at $1.4 million and will include dredging and road work in addition to the retention basins.

“It’s an extensive project; it’s an expensive project,” stated Councilman Tom Martinbianco. “It’s increased in scope over the last couple of years because of extensive flooding. Even the best of surveyors probably had a heck of a time [with this].”

Letters notifying residents of the yetunknown charges have been mailed to people living in the affected areas.

The amount will be added to city sewer bills. Once the city receives the payment, administrators will in turn write a check to the county.

Burton will also have to cover some costs associated with the assessment and excavation based on the amount of land inside the city that will be affected by the drainage project.

“The city is going to have to pay as well,” said Kray.

Burton has already footed clean-up bills in a few basements this year after receiving backup complaints.

Even people who haven’t experienced backup problems from excessive rains will have to pay a portion of the assessment fee.

There is no opt-out clause but residents can reportedly pay the charges over a number of years.

“A lot of folks are a little bit upset because they won’t know what their assessment costs will be. We all got the letters,” said Mayor Paula Zelenko.

The city plans to hold a public meeting on the issue on Oct. 12.

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