Potential vote might break deadlock over inspection program

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Finally, the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners might vote and end the stalemate with their counterparts in Manistee County over a point-of-sale septic inspection program.

While no vote was taken at a special meeting Aug. 28, District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board, said a decision might finally be forthcoming at the board’s regular meeting later this month on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

“I think we’re going to commit to it on the 18th,” Fisher said. “I’ve talked to my fellow commissioners. They want to get something done.”

The two counties have been in a stalemate for months following a decision by the Kalkaska County board earlier this year to rescind a point-of-sale septic and water well inspection regulation program for 10 counties run through the District Health Department No. 10.

After yet another series of meetings, neither county board has changed their stance over the issue.

Manistee County commissioners continue to seek to strengthen the inspection program by removing various exemptions, as well as extending the validity of any inspection from two to three years.

Meanwhile, Kalkaska County board members want to end the county’s participation in the inspection process, citing inflated inspection fees that can run as high as $1,000 – and that they see little “teeth” or real mandate for a property owner to make necessary changes before selling their property. Instead, local commissioners would rather allow townships to oversee a similar program.

As participating members of DHD No. 10, all 10 counties must approve of any changes.

According to Fisher, Manistee County has already approved a resolution in support of changes to its inspection program, while failing to move on allowing Kalkaska County out of the program.

“They didn’t even take it up,” Fisher added. “So, there was no action.

“It’s just there was no ‘yeah’ or no ‘nah.’”

But, Fisher said, he’s kept in communication with the Manistee County board and believes it might finally vote on the Kalkaska County request at its next meeting on Sept. 17.

That could be followed by Kalkaska County commissioners voting on both a resolution related to changes supported by Manistee County and its request to withdraw from the program altogether.

“It’s still under review,” Fisher said. “(But) there’s potential for action.”

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