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Tax assessments approved to restore lakes in Midland and Gladwin counties

Lake front property along the Tittabawasse River on May 17, 2021.
Brett Dahlberg
Lake front property along the Tittabawasse River on May 17, 2021.

Last night, commissioners in Midland and Gladwin counties signed off on two controversial tax assessments to rebuild the Sanford and Edenville dams that broke and caused widespread flooding in 2020.

Dave Kepler leads the Four Lakes Task Force, the group that owns the dams, he said during the public meeting that the estimate is roughly $100 million higher than it was in 2022. The total cost to restore Sanford, Wixom, Secord and Smallwood lakes has ballooned to nearly $400 million.

“We know these increases are disappointing. And we understand the impact on our communities,” Kepler said.

Isabelle Pasciolla, politics and government reporter at The Midland Daily News, joined WCMU's Rick Brewer to help listeners understand what these assessments mean for Midland and Gladwin counties, who's going to pay for the restoration, how commissioners handled the public comment period and reaction from residents who will be impacted most.

Editor's note: The Four Lakes Task Force has since clarified their plan to pursue other fund sources following the broadcast of this interview. FLTF officials said they plan to pursue an $80 million municipal bond and a loan from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Michigan Public's Steve Carmody contributed reporting to this story.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.