OWOSSO — The bids are back and Shiawassee County residents now can find out how much they will be paying on their property taxes to fund the long-delayed Misteguay Creek Intercounty Drain project — and even save a few dollars if they move quickly.

The final payment amounts will appear on residents’ 2019 winter tax bills, according to Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner Tony Newman.

But if residents in the drainage district want to avoid paying interest on the 20-year assessment, they can pay the assessments early, by Sept. 5. First they must visit the Shiawassee County Treasurer’s Office or the Drain Commission for a payment coupon.

Drain Commissioner Tony Newman said his office figured out the principal owed by each property owner in the district and those who pay now can avoid annual payments on their taxes that will include interest. For instance, a person with a $300 assessment can pay that now interest-free, but allowing the assessment to appear on their taxes will result in them paying more than $300 over the life of the 20-year assessment.

Information on the assessments can be found at shiawassee.net/Drain-Commissioner and looking for the Misteguay Intercounty Drain assessment link.

There are 2,790 parcels in the district covering 54,000 acres. The total cost to county landowners is $3 million.

The largest portion of Shiawassee County assessment is to the county, $330,000 over 20 years, 11 percent of the total. MDOT will pay $19,500. The majority of assessments total about $300.

One property owner with 116 acres will pay $4,200, a 123-acre parcel is assessed $4,492, a 198-acre parcel is paying $7,171.

The total cost for the project is about $8.4 million. The project spans three counties, Shiawassee, Genesee and Saginaw. Shiawassee County residents will pay 36 percent of the total cost of the project, Genesee will pay 46 percent and Saginaw will pay 18 percent.

The main portion of the project will repair dikes in Saginaw County that have eroded.

“This project is basically flood control for 15,000 Saginaw County residents,” Newman said. “There’s nothing that we’re doing that’s going to benefit Shiawassee County. It’s important to remember that all the work is being done in Saginaw County.”

Shiawassee County is represented by the Ionia County drain commissioner because Newman owns property in the drainage district.

The Misteguay Creek Intercounty Drain Board, which includes drain commissioners from each county, received the bids for the $8.4 million project in June and they were disclosed at a June 25 meeting in Albee Township.

Discussion of the project has been taking place since 2011. There have been multiple lawsuits over the project and the scope of the work has been revised several times.

The project will be completed in three phases. Champagne and Marx Excavating of Saginaw was awarded an $858,114 contract and Prairie Grain of Burt was awarded one contract for $3.8 million and another for $338,550.

That totals roughly $5 million for construction costs for the project. The rest of the $3.4 million will be broken down between engineering costs ($1.4 million), legal costs ($289,000) and other administrative fees, including the bond sales.

At its Aug. 1 meeting, the drainage board passed a resolution authorizing the sale of $8.4 million worth of bonds. Newman expects that to take place in September.

The $8.4 million total project cost doesn’t include the extra money the board had to borrow because of the delays.

Newman said the board had to borrow approximately $800,000 to pay for legal fees and engineering studies as a result of the multiple lawsuits the project faced.

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