Douglas eyes funds to clean plate of ‘spaghetti’ lines
2By Scott Sullivan
Douglas hopes to address “spaghetti” lines — side yard water connections not linked to mains — via special assessment districts wherein private property owners and the city pay to bring water service up to required standards.
Council Monday approved resolutions to create three districts:
- On Whittier Street south of Center Street, turning west on First Street to May Street. Property owners would contribute an estimated $74,318.10, the city $45,681.90 to this effort.
- McVea Drive from Campbell Road south past Golf View to where it ends at the Westshore Golf Course redevelopment. Property owners would be jointly assessed about $148,291.10, the city $117,708.90.
- Fremont Street from Union Street west to Ellis Street then Ellis north to Center Street. Property owners would contribute an estimated $80,476.66, the city $78,523.34.
Before establishing districts, or starting in them, Douglas must first hold a public hearing where residents may speak their views about such assessments. It will be at the Monday, March 5, city council meeting in city hall, 86 Center St., at 7 p.m.
Douglas engineer Brian Vilmont of Prein & Newhof told council Jan. 15 the estimated $545,000 total project was needed for the districts’ water supply infrastructure to meet Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulations.
Work would involve installing an underground main in areas where needed and a way for residents to have easy access to it. Besides paying a specified frontage charge per foot, property owners also would be responsible for finding and paying for a way to connect to the main from the public right-of-way to their homes.
Vilmont said it was right that the city pay a portion because there is a public benefit to property owners outside the districts: overall enhancement to the public utility system.
Residents in the Whittier-First and McVea districts can expect to pay relatively more, and the city less than Fremont-Ellis district landowners because they will benefit more directly from the improvements, Vilmont said.
Other city properties suffer from substandard water main connections and Douglas may eye assessment districts there in the future, city officials said.
Citizens may study the proposed improvements and assessment rolls at city hall.