Legislation was introduced in the Michigan House and Senate in May that could allocate millions of dollars for dam repairs to restore the four lakes. Even though the Michigan legislature and the administration have agreed to a budget for the next fiscal year, any financial allocation for the dams would more than likely come in the approval of a supplemental appropriation, with discussion on these types of investments beginning in October. Financing for the bills is possible because of excess available funds.
There has been strong advocacy from our local property owners, which is appreciated by our elected officials. FLTF is actively engaged in monitoring and providing input into this process.
How much money will FLTF get?
We don't know the amount that will be allocated to Four Lakes. The bills' sponsors are aware that restoration costs are $250 million and have shared support for being a major partner in the restoration effort.
How will the Four Lakes receive this funding?
Government grants and funding stay with the Treasury Department and are usually released as construction in draws and given as payments for work that is planned, approved, and documented. FLTF and/or the counties will not be given a lump sum. Funds will be audited per requirements of state laws and regulations.
How will an allocation impact the Four Lakes Special Assessment?
The state may grant enough so there would not be a need for a capital assessment to rebuild the lakes. There would still be an operational assessment. We have not yet determined final numbers but if this is the scenario, the operational assessment would likely be a few hundred dollars per year.
FLTF is still pursuing additional financing via an assessment or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, given the uncertainty of funding. The assessment amount per property owner cannot be predicted until we know the final allocation. This is covered in the Restoration Plan that was published and presented in May.
The computational costs for the operations assessment have not yet been determined but we expect it to be a few hundred dollars a year for the long-term if there is no capital assessment.
If Four Lakes gets the funding, how will it impact the timeline?
A very large grant would simplify our efforts and would give more confidence in the completion dates, but probably would not speed up the design, permitting or construction processes.
How much has the State of Michigan given to the Four Lakes already?
The state previously granted Four Lakes Task Force $22.5 million for engineering studies, acquisition, recovery and restoration.
We currently estimate that the total cost of restoration will be $250 million, with approximately $215 million going towards construction, $10 million for completing engineering on all four dams, and $25 million for other risk factors - primarily environmental.
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