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.
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