City approves drain commission request for maintenance project

BURTON — City council approved a resolution, July 6, which allows the Genesee County Drain Commission to proceed with a maintenance project on the Phillips drain, at a cost of $13,400 to city taxpayers.

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright requested the motion because the council has to approve, under Public Act 40 of 1956, if the county drain commissioner needs to spend more than $5,000 a mile on any one drain in the community.

“Five thousand dollars per mile doesn’t get a lot of work done these days,” said Wright. “So, the Philips drain is the drain in question and with the scenario of $5,000 a mile, the drain commissioner can spend $30,000 annually, without resolution from either Davison Township, which is also part of this system, or the city of Burton.”

The proposed project for maintenance and repairs to the Phillips drain, is estimated at $67,000, or which Burton is responsible for $13,400 – or 20 percent.

Wright said the county has had several complaints from people on both sides of Vassar Road about the drain, which services Vineland Avenue, Eugene Street, Milano and the Timber Run, Cherrylawn and Maplelawn subdivisions. He said it also services Vassar, Atherton and Bristol roads.

Councilman Tom Martinbianco asked Wright if there are any more sanitary sewer or storm sewer projects the city needs to be aware of in 2020-2021. Wright said there are none planned.

Wright said the project is a clear health and safety benefit to both Davison Township and Burton. He said the county took sealed bids for the project and the low bidder was A-Stat Contracting for $67,000.

Davison Township already approved its portion of the project and the county only needed Burton’s approval to proceed.

“That’s what we’ve come to the city for today is to ask them to exceed their maintenance limit so we can do this all in one year,” said Wright. “Now, if don’t do it that’s your prerogative, but what will happen is we would come out this year and do half the work, then bill the city for half the work. Then we’d come back next year and do the other half of the work and bill the city for what would end up being the total amount we’re asking for today, which is approximately $13,400.”

He said the maintenance is all part of the city’s drains-at-large expense it’s been paying for years, reminding the council there are no property taxes, gas or weight taxes to favor the maintenance of these drains.

“It’s all done through special assessment, and that’s through state statute,” said Wright. “This is the only project we are aware of at this time we would ask the city to exceed the maintenance limits for.”

Martinbianco asked if it was safe to say there would be no activity on the Gilkey Drain, underneath Bristol Road this year, should the city choose to do some maintenance and repairs on Bristol Road.

“I guess it would be safe to say we don’t have to worry about anything going on underneath Bristol Road, that would be east from Belsay toward Vassar?” he said.

Wright said there was nothing planned at this time.

“There’s no planned maintenance on Gilkey. Not in that area,” he said. “The actual bridge in that area on Bristol Road is either MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation), the road formerly being a state highway, or the city’s responsibility to maintain. The drain commission only maintains the open channels on either side of the road.”

The council voted 7-0 to approve the drain project.