Monday, December 13, 2010

Why the Village of Milford is thankful that the legislature robbed Peter to pay Paul (and what happens when that money runs out?)

Charming Milford
Eleven thousand contaminated sites, most with no responsible party left alive to pay for a cleanup. So the state has raided another fund to pay enough to work on the riskiest of sites. It’ll last for 3, maybe 4 years. A temporary, one-time fix for a crucial program (Hmmmmm….seems I’ve heard of that happening before in Lansing.)

At least places like the Coe’s Cleaners site in the stunningly cute Village of Milford in rural Oakland County won’t be abandoned. The contamination threatens the village’s drinking water supply. Village Manager Arthur Shufflebarger says, "It's a longtime source of contamination. If that would have been discontinued, it would have been a huge concern. I'm very pleased that another source of support has been offered."

So what about when the money runs out?
Or, maybe we even want to address more than a handful of these sites as a way to get Michigan’s towns and cities to attract businesses and industry on reclaimed sites of contamination (brownfields, as they’re called)?. How about a 3/8ths of a cent sales tax on the 2012 ballot to let Michigan voters decide whether to permanently fund cleanup programs?

The devil, of course, is in the details. And in the politics.

Stay tuned on this one.

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