Residents give feedback on proposed drain project

PLYMOUTH — A major drain project that will cost some Plymouth residents more than $800 caused the Marshall County Drainage Board meeting to be well attended Monday.
Larry Fisher, county surveyor, explained that reconstruction of the Logan Drain — a drain that affects mostly subdivided lands both inside and outside of the Plymouth corporate limits — is necessary to provide a water outlet for Fairfield Farms subdivision and allow provision for future developments in that area.
“We need to get (the water) out of the backyard of folks out there,” said Fisher to board members and those gathered in the audience.
He said that the estimated cost of the project is $308, 052. Marshall County will fund the project upfront, but residents in the watershed of the proposed drain will be responsible to pay the money back, and they were assessed at approximately$855 per residential lot. Fisher noted that this project has been in the works for some time, but because money was not available in the General Drain Improvement Fund, he had to seek additional funds from the Marshall County Council.
“For several years this thing has just sat still,” said Fisher. “The council has approved to infuse the General Drain Improvement Fund with additional monies to go ahead and do this project.”
Several residents that would be affected by the drain project had the chance to speak up during a public hearing. One of those speaking was Gary Cook, who resides at 418 Crimson Lane in Plymouth. He stated that he opposed the project, and questioned why the Fairfield Farms subdivision was allowed to develop without a plan for drainage.
“Fairfield Farms doesn’t have an outlet, and I feel sorry for them,” said Cook. “But I don’t see that as my problem. It’s the city of Plymouth’s problem for allowing that area to develop. Why should I be assessed for something that was an error many, many years ago?”
This statement was met with applause from other audience members. Cook also said that he doesn’t believe flooding is an issue in his area and neighbors he spoke with have agreed.
Fisher said that while residents in Tall Oaks subdivision and on Deer Trail are being assessed for the project since they would be in the watershed of the proposed drain, Fairfield Farms is paying for the entire section of the drain that benefits their area.
Kent Hammonds, of 9940 Deer Trail, also spoke up in opposition of the project.
“I have no drainage problem at my property, and I don’t see how this project will benefit me,” said Hammonds. “I don’t think I should be assessed for something that will not benefit me.”
Tony Gamble, of 14697 Candy Lane, said that he has lived at that address for 16 years and not had a problem with drainage.
“I live directly across the street from the current retention pond, and at no time have I seen the pond so full that it’s been an issue,” said Gamble. “There’s a lot of people with fixed income in my neighborhood and they can’t afford this right now. As a business owner, I’ll make it work, but I’m thinking about my neighbors here.”
Drainage board member Jack Roose said, “This is one of those difficult decisions that the board gets from time to time. Are we going to plan for future developments…or kind of look the other way and let things stay as they are?”
Although no other member of the board appeared to have anything to say on the matter, finally board member Kevin Overmyer spoke up.
“I understand everyone’s concerns,” said Overmyer, “I think for the future of developments in the city and the county, I would like to make a motion that we move forward on the project.”
Overmyer’s motion was immediately seconded by Greg Compton, and was passed 4 to 1, with board member Randy Glingle voting against the project.
Fisher also told those present that they will be able to pay the assessment fee in installments over 10 years, but they would have a 10 percent interest on the balance. This interest rate is set by the state and is out of the control of drainage board members. The money will not be due until one year after the drain is certified to be ready for collection.