BOC vote will not end concerns over inspection program

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners finally voted to end the county’s participation in a point-of-sale septic inspection program run through the District Health Department No. 10.

But, that doesn’t mean debate over the program is finished.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to withdraw from the point-of-sale septic and water well inspection regulation program for 10 counties run through the DHD No. 10 at their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18. 

District No. 2 Commissioner Leigh Ngirarsaol cast the lone dissenting vote, reportedly stating that the residents in her district, which includes Rapid River and Coldsprings townships, were “very soundly against” ending the county’s participation in the program.

The vote follows months of heated discussions over whether Kalkaska County would withdraw from the inspection program, while also possibly taking the first step in breaking a stalemate with Manistee County over the issue.

The two counties have been in a stalemate following a decision by the Kalkaska County board earlier this year, with Manistee County commissioners proposing new guidelines to strengthen the inspection program by removing various exemptions, as well as extending the validity of any inspection from 2 to 3 years.

Meanwhile, Kalkaska County board members have wanted 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 District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the Kalkaska County board, Manistee County has already approved a resolution in support of changes to their inspection program, while failing to move on allowing Kalkaska County out of the program.

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