Comments on: Lawsuit Filed on City Footing Drain Program it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Dory John Dory Sat, 01 Mar 2014 19:05:49 +0000 Another example of the fine and detailed coverage the Chronicle has provided on this controversial issue.

One aspect that has not been publicly discussed to any great extent is the fact the city government has tried to steer the unlucky homeowners placed into the “target areas” to accept “pre-approved” plumbing contractors to complete the FDD process by giving a stipend of several thousand dollars to the homeowner who chooses an FDD contractor on the “pre-approved” list. Those homeowner who pick an FDD contractor not on the “pre-approved” list will not receive any stipend.

The City of Ann Arbor has publicly justified its stipend incentive program as a way of ensuring only highly-qualified plumbing contractors are conducting FDD operations within the city. Critics have countered that the “pre-approved” list of four contractors consists of those who have or may have a cozy relationship with city officials and that since the State of Michigan already licenses plumbing contractors such list in not needed and, in any event, an FDD disconnection is a simple process – creating a pre-approved list would be analogous to the city pre-approving physicians to give a mandated penicillin injection.

About 2,000 households have been chosen to participate in the FDD program on a compulsory basis – so the four contractors have likely realized millions of dollars in aggregate revenues.

@John Q:

“No one is forcing you to put a sump pump in place.”

The FDD ordinance calls for $100.00 per month fine for those who are located in a named “targeted area” and who do not comply with the dictates of the ordinance. The identification of a “target area” is within the sole discretion of the director of public works. No member of City Council I am aware of resides in a “target area” and some homeowners who have loudly complained about inclusion in such a zone have been dropped from mandatory participation with respect to the ordinance.

Frank Burdick has been one of the more outspoken citizens regarding the FDD program and is well-versed in its pros and cons. His citation above of the 1997 Black and Veatch report is well-taken.

By: John Q. John Q. Sat, 01 Mar 2014 17:06:10 +0000 No one is forcing you to put a sump pump in place. Feel free to find another way to get rid of the water. Just don’t act as if you should have free access to the city’s storm sewer system and not pay for the use of it. As I said, let’s put a meter on your usage and see how much that costs.

By: Frank Burdick Frank Burdick Sat, 01 Mar 2014 14:16:30 +0000 Finally the Courts will have the opportunity to Rule on this issue. It is clearly time for the Consultants, and non-attorney citizens to stand aside and allow the Courts and legal professionals do their work.

The issue here is that the FDD program is not constitutional and it is just not right. Imagine if the City wanted to put a sump pump in your living room? Would you accept that?

No one who opposes the FDD program will disagree that sanitary back ups in basements or overflows to the Huron are acceptable. The “fix” needs to be in Right of Way and not destroy a home’s value.

Recommendations were made in 80′s 90′s and 2001. The City ignored the major infrastructure needed requirements then, and chose the cheaper intrusive FDD program. Now the City faces a lawsuit.

The other day, the Emergency Manager in Detroit said…. “fixes don’t become cheaper with time..” Think 1997 Black and Veatch Report…..

By: Vince Caruso Vince Caruso Sat, 01 Mar 2014 03:40:07 +0000 One issue not discussed in all this is the fact that many of the owners with flooding problems may be attributed to things other than the FDD’s. New developments up stream and much larger rain events of recent years. We have had much new development to the west of the city and added flows to the east into the city, both sanitary and stormwater. On March 15, 2012 for example we had the largest recorded rain event in the city at 5-6″ in about an hour, in the Lawton area.

Flooding of any homes is unacceptable but we need to deal with reality and not emotion.

I’m glad our area has had most of the footer disconnected after extensive basement and overland flooding in 2000. No basement flooding with sewage mixed with footer drain stormwater has occurred since even in large rains.

I have a sump pump that I put in and maintain as do many others in town. This is a way to keep sewage out of basements and out of the creeks and Huron River.

I hope the folks with black robes get some courts masters to help understand the issues as they are clearly very complex.

Climate change is happening now with large rains, as has been predicted for Michigan, and we need to move to deal with it or more intense rains will flood many more homes FDD’s or not.

By: John Q. John Q. Sat, 01 Mar 2014 03:34:00 +0000 Perhaps the homeowners would prefer to have their footing drain metered and charged for their discharge into the sewer system? How quickly would their sewer bills exceed the cost of installing a sump pump?

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:08:57 +0000 Sounds like going forward the city could say “You must disconnect from the sewer system. You figure it out.”

By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Fri, 28 Feb 2014 15:07:59 +0000 There has been so much controversy over this program that it’s good someone in a black robe will make a decision about it.