The leaders of Sterling Heights say they uncovered explosive evidence that proves the Fraser sinkhole could have been prevented.
They are releasing this evidence as they argue that Sterling Heights residents and business owners are being forced to pay an unfair portion of the repairs.
It happened on Christmas Eve last year. The Macomb Interceptor Drain collapsed. A 100-foot wide, 250-foot-long hole opened up in the ground. Three houses were condemned. The cost of repairs is expected to be about $75 million.
The sewer line has been replaced at 15 Mile and Hayes in Fraser, but even now surface repairs continue.
“We have explosive evidence that they knew about this problem and did nothing about it,” said Michael Taylor, Sterling Heights mayor.
On Thursday, the leaders of Sterling Heights released evidence that Macomb County was told by experts a catastrophic collapse was possible if repairs weren’t done back in 2013.
The repairs then would have cost only $2 million. The county applied for a grant, but never took action to fix the problem. Then, the predicted catastrophe happened.
“So, what you see in this grant application is the county admitting that we have a major problem and if we don’t take care of it, it could cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the future. So they knew it, they told the state they knew it, but then they sat back and did nothing,” said Taylor.
Sterling Heights says its rate payers are unfairly being ordered to pay for one third of the repairs. They want the county to take on more responsibility for the cost.
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller released a statement saying:
“Sterling Heights is suing about a matter that happened under my predecessor, before I even took office. We will leave it to the courts to decide.
My priority since I took office on Jan. 1 of this year has been to fix the 15 Mile Sewer collapse. We’re also engaged in a comprehensive review of all of the infrastructure under the jurisdiction of our office. The Sterling Heights case involves the MIDD, a district which includes 11 communities in Macomb County. I will continue to represent the best interest of all 11 of these communities, including Sterling Heights, as well as Macomb County as a whole. “