Crockery costs will be passed on to residents

Township Board members are tired of sewer expenses from the Hathaway Lakes development siphoning money from township coffers.
Marie Havenga
Oct 28, 2013


Last week, they decided to do something about it.

The township board unanimously approved a special asessment of just over $100 for each of the close to 400 parcels that are still vacant in the development, located on the north side of M-104 between 136th and 130th avenues.

The township also instituted an additional $1,000 fee for future building permits in the Eastbrook Homes development.

Township Supervisor Leon Stille said the expectation was that Hathaway Lakes would build out sooner than it has. The economic downturn took its toll on the site, and instead of the 510 homes projected in the mid-2000s, only about 115 homes have been constructed.

The sewer plant was constructed in 2004-2005 for the primary purpose of serving the development and other future neighborhoods in the vicinity.

Operation and maintenance costs for the plant have exceeded funding sources – to the tune of $45,000 a year, according to Stillle.

“The gap has not closed,” Stille said. “The first year, we paid $35,000 for seven people. We need another 350 to 400 houses and we'll be fine.”

The township has spent $99,000 in legal fees and contributed $102,300 to the sewer fund so far, according to Township Treasurer Judy VanBemmelen.

Developer Eastbrook Homes contributed $2,000 per living unit toward plant construction, totaling $1,056,000, Stille noted.

Eastbrook Homes CEO Mick McGraw said his company has paid $960,000 of that so far in annual payments.
McGraw called the special assessment and additional $1,000 fee approved by the board last week “frustrating.” He said township officials didn’t inform him of the rate hikes but that he had heard rumors.

“I'm a little frustrated that we haven't had communication to work toward a solution,” he said. “We're the only ones that put money into building the plant and we gave them most of the cost of the site they put it on.”

McGraw said the township tacking on extra fees may backfire in trying to attract new residents.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Tri-cities realist

Instead of assess an additional $100 to future owners, why not assess it to the PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY USING the sewer system? My guess is that the Board didn't want to anger current taxpayers (or are there board members who currently live there?). Instead they'll pass along the costs to the developer, who will pass it along to future homeowners.

Leon said "We need another 350 to 400 houses and we'll be fine.” And so to encourage this, what does the board do? Yep, that's right, penalize future owners by $1100. I think the Board has been taking too many clues from Washington. Unbelievably stupid. Let those that currently use the service, pay for it.


I'm now wondering if somebody might get angry and file bankruptcy? Or maybe just walk away? and let it rot?


i would say, that the builder should make it more attractive for people to buy in to the subdivision and get more lots sold, not holding prices higher than one would want to pay, like auto sale,s industry, we have 300 cars on the lot to get rid of this month, it cost money just to have them sit and not move, we would rather sell them at cost and make 10 bucks a car, everyone is happy including the boss


This is another example of governmental bungling why did the township ever allow this to happen in the first place. The taxpayers could have been protected if certain performance bonds were put in place. Simply sloppy and now they are trying to cover their tracks.


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