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Solution to Pine Lake flooding estimated at $3 million

Barry County Drain Commissioner asked for – and received – authorization to exceed a $10,000 annual limit on spending to address Pine Lake flooding.

The cost for flooding in Barry County is rising – as are the lake levels.

To date, $750,000 has been spent to fight the flooding in Barry County, Drain Commissioner Jim Dull told county commissioners Tuesday.

These funds are coming from $500,000 that was allocated by the county board for flood relief, plus another $400,000 that was borrowed for that purpose, Dull said.

But that total is likely to increase much more because of Pine Lake.

“We have houses flooded out,” Dull said, “People actually moving out. Three county roads have water on them.”

Several hundred Pine Lake residents, during a July 2 public information meeting in Delton, gave Dull his marching orders. They said they want action.

But there was an immediate obstacle: A limit on spending for maintenance of the lake level on Pine Lake.

“We can't spend over $10,000 a year without the commissioners lifting that limit on us, which is a good checks and balances,” Dull told commissioners. “We know the project will probably be $3 million.

“So [at the Pine Lake meeting] one guy stood up and said: '$3 million, 660 homes, $5,000 a piece – why aren't we done?' Everybody clapped. I took that as they're on board.”

Dull snagged a last-minute audience with the county board Tuesday to ask for authorization to exceed the $10,000 spending limit on the maintenance of the Pine Lake water level.

His request was approved.

That lake, which is principally in Prairieville Township, has some frontage in Allegan County's Gun Plain Township, so that county board was to receive a similar request today.

Once both counties have authorized exceeding the spending limit, engineers Chad Marcarelli and Dan Fredericks will be able to proceed with a project.

Barry County Commissioner Dave Jackson, who lives on Guernsey Lake Road in Delton, said Pine Lake “is in the same boat as Crooked Lake. It's another bowl lake with no outlet.”

By allowing Dull to exceed the spending limit on Pine Lake, “we're giving him authorization to basically engineer a solution,” Jackson said. “The charge to Dull is to go get a solution – and the estimate for that solution is $3 million.”

Is there a solution?

Yes, Jackson said, but they will likely have to bore through a hill to find it.



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