Repayment plan may help ease burden of repaying county for Sylvan Township residents
While Sylvan Township officials await a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals regarding a $2.4 million judgment brought against the township by two developers, township attorney Pete Flintoft told a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night that a long-term repayment plan could ease the pain of reimbursing the county for $10.6 million the county owes.
The township owes the county $9.4 million in bond debt for its water plant and $1.2 million for special assessment fees advanced to the township by the county when the developers stopped paying the township for water and sewer assessments.
Flintoft told more than 65 Sylvan Township residents that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners might work with the township to renegotiate the township's debt. If it could be repaid over 20 years, it would cost township residents about 3.15 mills per year. That's $315 per year for the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000.
Township officials originally feared they would have to impose a one-time tax levy of 63 mills to pay back the county. Currently, the township levies 0.9474 mills.
In addition to what the township owes the county, Sylvan Township faces a $2.4 million judgment that was awarded by Judge Donald Shelton to Norfolk Development Corporation and Magellan Properties.
The developers won a lawsuit against the township that alleged breach of contract. The judge awarded costs and charges to the developers associated with sewer and water service for a large residential development on Sibley Road that never broke ground. The judgement also voided a special assessment district that was supposed to raise $8 million to pay for the water plant.
“The township has enough money on hand to pay the spring 2012 interest-only payment to the county,” said Township Supervisor Bob Lange.
A motion for a stay of payment was filed in November. The Court of Appeals heard the township’s appeal in March but there’s been no decision from the court.
In addition, Lange said he is talking with surrounding businesses in the hopes of adding more customers to the system, which would help offset the debt. The township has also filed a suit in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith, P.C., the attorneys who represented the township in its agreements with the developers. The suit alleges malpractice.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.