Ironically, the drain code which is supposed to assure proper continued drainage, does very little in the way of maintenance. Elected drain commisioners are reluctant to assess for routine, preventive maintenance. Low-cost, environmentally sensible work is postponed until a large, expensive project becomes urgent. Taxpayers end up footing huge assessments for projects that are ruled as "necessary."
Unmaintained agricultural drains are a common sight. Lack of maintenance in closed urban or suburban drains is hidden out of sight. Both lead to system failures. Farmers, taxpayers, property owners and environmentalists are united on this topic.
2. Speak out on the new legislation introduced
by Rep. Mike Green, HB 4803.
Rep. Green held a hearing on July 8 with the full Agriculture Committee invited to attend. . If you weren't able to testify, you can submit written comments to Rep. Mike Green, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Room 252 Capitol Building, Lansing, MI 48909-7514.
3. Support total drain code reform.
Many people in Lansing seem willing to settle for just a little reform or, even worse yet, to add the ability to make super-sized drain districts--without correcting the faults of the existing drain code. This expanded ability to assess for projects involving whole river systems is the idea behind a new Chapter 22 that has been written. On the surface, it is a logical idea: treat the problems of a complete river drainage basin. Other states have begun "watershed management" projects, but those same states don't put drain commissioners in charge. If the faults of the current drain code are not corrected, "watershed management" in Michigan will just turn into a massive assessment scheme managed by drain commissioners who have complete discretionary authority.
4. Continue to check back with this webpage, keeping yourself updated with the News Briefs section.
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