Mecosta County to save thousands on intercounty drain rebuild

Drain Commissioner Jackie Fitzgerald explained the rebuild of the Blanchard Intercounty Drain will involve replacing the tile in sections of the drain in both Mecosta and Isabella counties. The total cost of the project is $1.3 million, to be split between the drainage districts in both counties. (Pioneer photo/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — Mecosta County will save thousands of dollars by paying upfront for their portion of a rebuild of the Blanchard Intercounty Drain.

The drain, which is located in Mecosta and Isabella counties, is scheduled to undergo a significant rebuild, a project which drain commissioners have determined will cost $1.3 million total.

The Mecosta County portion of the drainage district has been assessed 34 percent of the $1.3 million and the Isabella County district has been assessed the remaining 66 percent. Within the district, Mecosta County proper was assessed 15 percent of the 34 percent for the district, making the total cost for the county $66,300, to be split with the Road Commission.

At the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners meeting on June 7, county commissioners agreed to commit to paying the 15 percent assessed to the county upfront, rather than making payments with interest for 20 years.

The decision will save the county approximately $31,954 over the next 20 years as paying upfront will eliminate the costs of any accrued interest on the borrowed money.

According to Drain Commissioner Jackie Fitzgerald, this rebuild will involve replacing more than three miles of tile. This will include all of the tile in the Isabella County district, other than in wetland areas, and a small portion of the tile in the Mecosta County district. She explained the tile in this drain has not been repaired for a long time and although only a small section of tile in Mecosta County is being replaced, the work to the drain needs to be done to improve the drain quality for both counties.

“It will work much better for everybody,” Fitzgerald said.

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