Drain commissioner looks to consolidate Lincoln Township storm drains

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — Trustees approved a resolution to consolidate four Alabaster Estate storm drains in Lincoln Township.

Berrien County Drain Commissioner Roger Zilke and Stacy Hissong – an attorney for the drain commissioner’s office – told trustees during Tuesday’s board meeting that by doing so, they would help streamline paperwork and save time and money in managing the maintenance and improvement of the drains.

The Alabaster Estate, which is a subdivision just off of Demorrow Road in Lincoln Township, had its storm drains installed in four phases and then turned over to the Drain Commission. However, the storm drains are not legally county drains.

“It wasn’t done properly,” Zilke said. “I asked the township to sign a petition to legally make them county drains. Right now, they are kind of out in a cloud. They are in no man’s land right now.”

Since the storm drains are not under the Drain Commission’s jurisdiction, Zilke said maintenance would fall under the Berrien County Road Commission because they are along a road. The problem with this scenario is the Road Commission doesn’t have any provisions to accept storm drains.

Because Lincoln Township trustees approved the consolidation, Zilke said what comes next is a board of determination.

“We will accept public testimony on taking these drains on the inventory as a formal county drain,” Zilke said. “They were built one at a time – Phase I, II, III and IV.”

The board of determination will be at a date to be determined in the summer of 2016.

The county has been working on this drain consolidation for a few months.

“This petition will allow is to consolidate them into one county drain instead of four,” Zilke said. “It’s something we have done from time to time, but it doesn’t happen on a regular basis. It does simplify the paperwork when we are able to do this and make it more legally correct.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 11, 2015)

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