Wolverine Lake Sanitary Sewer Special Assessment District (SAD)
WHY CONNECT TO SANITARY SEWER?
One of the goals of the Village and the Water Management Board is to protect the water quality of Wolverine Lake. While septic fields have, for the most part, played a vital role in maintaining water quality, the risk of septic tanks and fields failing remains a concern. The following was taken from the “Michigan Water Stewardship Program’s Michigan Water Issues” section of their website:
Septic systems are a form of onsite sewage treatment common in rural Michigan communities, homes surrounding lakes and throughout some suburban communities as well. Household wastewater is sent to a large tank, where anaerobic bacteria break some of it down before allowing the water to flow out of the system into a drain field for further filtration by the soil. If we want to keep E. coli and other pathogens out of our waterways, we need to address the problem of septic systems that may be failing to adequately treat our wastewater. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) estimates there are 130,000 failing systems currently operating in Michigan. That represents about 1-in-10 of more than 1.3 million systems installed statewide. EGLE further estimates that Michigan’s numerous failing septic systems release upwards of 31 million gallons of raw sewage every day into our groundwater.
Failing systems are enough of a concern that, where sewer lines are available, Oakland County will not issue permits for septic repair. Also, if any home is expanded by 100 square feet or more the homeowner MUST hook up to an available sanitary sewer system.
WHAT IS A SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICT (SAD)?
In order to help homeowners pay for a connection to the sanitary sewer, a Special Assessment District (“SAD”) can be established. An SAD is established when a group of property owners allow the government to assess the cost of a public improvement that will benefit them against their properties. In our case, if approximately thirty (30) property owners agree to the SAD, the Village can issue tax-exempt bonds payable over a ten (10) year period and add an amount sufficient to pay off the bonds onto their annual Village property tax bills. Because the bonds are tax-exempt, the Village can borrow the funds at a lower rate and pass those savings along to the homeowners in the SAD.
WHAT ARE THE COST INVOLVED?
Connecting to the sanitary sewer can be expensive, especially if you have to pay immediately and on your own, but the homes within an SAD spread these costs out over time. The exact costs for the sewer connection and the SAD cannot be calculated until all factors are determined. This includes how many homeowners sign up for the SAD, current cost of permits and legal fees, changes in material costs, etc. The total cost for homeowners who participated in the last SAD averaged around $18,000 per home. Spread over a ten (10) year period, these costs are usually easier to manage than the upfront out of pocket required for an emergency replacement due to septic system failure or included in the cost of a home improvement that triggers a hook up requirement. Also, these costs should be weighed against maintenance costs for keeping a septic system in good working order. Once installed, maintenance and repairs become the responsibility of the County. Homeowners will receive a quarterly sewer bill from the County. The current charge is approximately $135.00 per quarter.
IF I SIGN A PETITION DO I HAVE TO HOOK UP RIGHT AWAY?
The simple answer is no. There are several homeowners who have participated in previous SAD efforts that have chosen to continue to use their sewer systems for the time being.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO INITIATE THE SAD?
First there is a petition drive requiring a minimum of 30 households to sign up. You can do this by scheduling an appointment to visit Village Hall, Monday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm.
Two public hearings will be scheduled with dates and times advertised in the Spinal Column and by U.S. mail to the participants. A decision to remain on the petition must be made prior to the second public hearing. You must visit Village Hall in person to remove yourself from the petition.
Council will then approve the Special Assessment Roll following the second Public Hearing. This approval will take place at the regular Council meeting the same night that the second Public Hearing is held. At this time all petitioners will be locked into the SAD Roll.WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE SAD?
Sanitary sewer is available on the following streets:
Angola, Benstein, Briar Ridge, Canal, Delmonte, Ethel, Ethel Court, Glengary, Indian, Ladd (northern portion down to Lakeview only), Laguna, Laguna Court, Lakeview, Newport Court, Oakview, Oak Island, Payne Court, Paulette, Tampa (addresses 2550 to 2669 only), Shankin, Shankin Court, Solano, South Commerce, Ventura, Wolverine Dr., and all abutting properties to the streets listed.
The attached map indicates those who would be eligible to participate in the SAD. Color coded addresses are those that are encouraged to participate.