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At the Thursday, March 6 meeting of the Cass County Commissioners, the board members approved a resolution to establish and provide a gravity sanitary sewage disposal system which will be owned by the Lakes Area Sewer Authority (LASA).
The Cass County Board of Public Works will now move forward with the management and financing of the sewer project on behalf of the LASA.
Marcellus and Volinia Townships in Cass County and Porter Township in Van Buren County make up the Lakes Area Sewer Authority. Board members have been working towards providing sewage disposal for Big Fish, Gravel, Finch and West Saddlebag Lakes for many months.
At the November 2007 meeting, the authority decided to seek assistance from the county to manage and finance the sewer project under PA 185. At the same meeting it was voted to proceed with an independent, authority operated treatment plant. Also, at the meeting, Wightman & Associates, the sewer project’s engineering firm, reported that the U.S. Department of Rural Development has tentatively approved the authority’s preliminary application for funding and would provide a loan of $11,060,000 and a $1 million grant towards the $12,060,000 cost of the project.
Payments from the townships will be used to retire the bonds needed to fund the sewer system.
At the December Township Board meetings each Township passed resolutions to seek county assistance with the project.
Wightman & Associates engineer Alan Smaka, reported at the authority’s January meeting that communications had been received from the USDA confirming the grant and funding for the project.
During the month of February, Van Buren County decided to allow Cass County to take control of the project.
According to Wightman & Associates, it is estimated the costs for property owners will be approximately $500 parcel fees, a benefit fee of $9,800 and a monthly rate of $45.
Future actions planned by the authority are to obtain environmental and engineering studies, select and secure a site for the treatment plant, establish the individual assessment districts for each lake, and hold public hearings on the assessment amounts for the districts.
Efforts are also underway to research grants to support the building of a “green” treatment facility, which would utilize wind, solar and biomass principles in its operation.
(Note: This article appeared in the Marcellus News, March 13, 2008 issue, and is reprinted here with consent. Updates on information in this article were requested but not received.)
According to Project Schedule presented to the LASA in January 2008, public hearings on special assessment rolls and districts, and adoption of resolutions confirming assessment rolls are to be held in June 2008. The notices of the public hearings should be published in the Marcellus News prior to meetings, no other notifications are required.
If you have any questions regarding the sewer project please contact:
Lakes Area Sewer Authority