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Alert! The bill HB 4803 is on the Senate floor! A vote is expected Nov. 28. Please call or fax your Senator and make your opinion known.
The revised drain code was passed by the House on December 7. Now it will come up before the Senate . It is discouraging that few Senators have read the bill. A substitute bill will be introduced, but we have no indication that it will contain any improvements of interest to citizens.
** Citizens' rights have not been protected--worsened in fact. (Easements can be "presumed," an assessment cannot be voided "for any reason," consolidations happen too easily, no appeals of a project are possible)**Environmental protection has been curtailed to existing law. But the DEQ has been removed from pollution planning. The chances for stopping drain, stream and lake pollution are not so good.
**Petitions that start a drain project may be initiated by fewer people--but out-of-control costs cannot be stopped by any number of people.
**Assessments for work are automatic in several instances--all without appeal. Maintenance of drains is only slightly more likely. However, drains built for development still proceed by private agreement with the drain commissioner. The bill will accelerate sprawling development.
**Language is being added to say that Headlee tax limitation doesn't apply although it clearly does following the Bolt v. City of Lansing decision. Taxes can be increased in a dozen ways without a vote.
**The power of drain commissioners has been extended
but no accountability has been added.
Just say NO WAY! Call/fax your legislator now!
Land Use Institute releases case studies