By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.-Oakland County will soon begin assessing to redistrict the Paint Creek drainage system. The township board of trustees voted 5-2 to give the county the go-ahead to begin the assessing process. Trustees Scott Broughton, Dana DePalma, Robert Marshall, Kathy Thurman, supervisor and Candee Allen, clerk voted in favor of the redistricting while Trustee Kris Kordella and Treasurer Terri Darnall voted against it.
Jeff Wilson from Oakland County Water Resources attended the Dec. 4 and the Jan. 8 board of trustee meetings to explain why this particular drainage system needs redistricting and what they would like to accomplish.
“How it was operating before, we cannot continue on,” said Wilson.
Before 1916, there were two separate channels, the Cowden and Big Meadow, but in 1916, a different drainage district was placed over most of them, which is now the Paint Creek drain, and there are still two small branches of the original two channels, all of which overlap within the drainage district. The proposal to consolidate them would redistrict the drains and also clear the current blockages of downed trees and other debris, which is one of the main issues in the district.
“We never changed those assessment districts, so it was charging everyone within the larger assessment district to maintain these two little small pieces,” he said. “Our attorneys clarified that is incorrect, that does not comply with the drain code.”
The proposed project total assessment estimate is around $262,000. The normal maintenance assessment value would be around $90,000 based on the total length of the drain.
The residents within the drainage district would have a change in taxes to fund the redistricting, though it would only be a one time fee, and would vary per parcel. Should a resident be unable to afford the fee, Oakland County would work with Darnall on a case by case basis. Dues in the taxes that would fund future maintenance may also change depending on the parcel. Ways to maintain the drain as a homeowner can be found on Brandon Township’s website.