Governor Announced Support for Bill
Today, the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed an appropriation that included $200 million to support the rebuilding of the Four Lakes dams which will restore our community's future. We expect the measure to be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who announced her support of the bill yesterday. We appreciate her empathy for the community's recovery since the dam failures.
FLTF thanks our Michigan legislature especially Senate Appropriations Chairman Jim Stamas. We also thank Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Sen. Rick Outman. In the House, we are grateful to Speaker Jason Wentworth, Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, Rep. Annette Glenn and Rep. Roger Hauck. In addition, we thank U.S. Congressman John Moolenaar and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow who have been incredibly helpful in their efforts to obtain federal resources and funds for our recovery. We also appreciate the Lake Associations and our community for their great advocacy and engagement.
Historically, this will be one of the largest project appropriations for a community of our size. This funding will significantly lower the burden on property owners and make it possible to stay on track for construction.
In addition to the $200 million state grant for the Four Lakes restoration, $15 million was appropriated to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) for department resources and expenses related to permitting, inspection, review and consultation for projects associated with flooding and dam management related to the dam failure in May 2020. The $15 million appropriation includes $3 million to match an estimated $9 million of funds from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services Emergency Watershed Protection (NRCS EWP) program that will be used for the remaining debris removal and to address shoreline erosion that is occurring from the dam failures.
"It is an incredible accomplishment to get this type of funding for our community,” said FLTF President Dave Kepler. “The State grants and remaining federal matches will allow us to complete the Recovery Phase and fill a significant gap in the $250 million lake restoration planning estimate outlined in our May 2020 Four Lakes Restoration Plan."
How Will the Funding Impact My Assessment?
CAPITAL ASSESSMENT: The recently announced funding for Four Lakes will be less than the estimated cost to rebuild the four dams and requires a community match of 20%. This means a Capital Assessment will be needed, but the assessment amount will be significantly lower than the planning estimates that were previously provided in 2020 and 2021. Any payment of a capital assessment will likely not occur until 2025.
We believe this State grant will put the overall lake community in a position where the assessment can be affordably shared among the property owners. We will continue to seek additional ways to help those who have limited ability to pay. We will discuss the project status, financing plan, and assessments in greater detail at the April 6 Community Information Session.
OPERATIONS ASSESSMENTS: The grant has no impact on the Operations Assessment. It will continue as planned.
Will Interim Financing Still Be Needed?
Yes. We plan to proceed with the $10 million anticipation note once the appropriations are approved. FLTF will work to issue notes in early April to ensure we can continue with our progress while the timing of the processing of the State grants are established.
There will be a community webinar on April 6. By that time - with the adjusted methodology, updated project estimates, and factoring in these appropriations - we will have a clearer view of the total financing of the project. This meeting precedes the board meeting and will provide detail on the topics presented to the board. Please register at this link.
The financial plan will be approved at the next FLTF board meeting on April 11. We moved this meeting back a week to allow for time to calculate the new assessment estimates given this grant amount. We also will review the overall plan to finance, and new estimates for the Operations Assessment will be provided based on updates to the methodology.
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