Fred D. Strauer
The Iosco County Drain Commissioner is an elected official and serves a term of four years. The Michigan Drain Code (Act 40 of Public Acts of 1956, as amended) governs the duties of the Commissioner. The Drain Commissioner’s Office is responsible for maintaining all legally established county and intercounty drains within losco County. This responsibility includes managing and financing drain construction projects. A county drain can be an open ditch, swale, stream, underground pipe, or retention pond that conveys stormwater. Presently, there are 28 county drains, 10 intercounty drains and 1 private drain in Iosco County.
All drainage work completed through the Drain Commissioner’s Office is by petition of the property owners or municipalities. Beneficiaries are property owners, cities, villages, townships and the county-at-large. Projects are financed through special assessments. The Drain Commissioner is responsible for spreading the special assessments, maintaining accounting of expenditures and assessment collections. Property owners are assessed for direct benefit. Cities, villages and townships are assessed for health benefits and the county-at-large is assessed for the benefit to county roads.
The Drain Commissioner is also the agent appointed by the losco County Board of Commissioners for maintaining the court-ordered lake levels including constructing and maintaining dams and pumps used to control the levels. Under the Inland Lake Level Act (Act 146, P.A. of 1961), the Board of Commissioners may file a petition in Circuit Court to establish a special assessment district to pay the cost of establishing and maintaining a lake level. There arc currently three legally established lake levels in losco County: Long Lake in Plainfield Township, Floyd Lake in Grant Township and Van Etten Lake in Oscoda Township.
The Drain Commissioner is a member by statute of Lake Improvement Boards which most often monitor weed control projects on inland lakes within the county. The Commissioner is also statutorily a member of the losco County Parks and Recreation Commission, Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Iosco County Public Works Board.
The Commissioner reviews external and internal drainage of preliminary and final plats for subdivisions/residential developments as governed by the Michigan Subdivision Control Act. All plats require the signature of final approval as to stormwater management from the Drain Commissioner.
The Drain Office maintains a close working relationship with the losco County Road Commission. Drains such as roadside ditches, pipes, bridges and culverts under roads that drain state highways and county roads, which are not designated as county drains. are maintained by the losco County Road Commission (989) 362-4433.
However, drain pipes which are not county drains and are not along the roadside, may be the responsibility of the property owner. Rivers, streams or creeks which are not under the Drain Commissioner’s jurisdiction may be the responsibility of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (Mio Office- 826-0311).