Candice Miller wants $20 million loan for sinkhole repairs

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The sinkhole problems are still spreading and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller is asking the county for a $20 million loan.

She says the county needs the money to help fix the damaged drain that caused this mess. Miller stood before the Macomb County Board of Commissioners to request loan to help pay for invoices related to the massive sinkhole repairs in Fraser. The motion passed 13 to zero.

Miller says several millions of dollars have been spent so far on repairing the 15 Mile Road drain collapse from Christmas Eve that has left a number of homeowners displaced, and dealing with ongoing water restrictions.

Miller says a rough estimate shows the total cost may be in the ballpark between $70 to 80 million dollars to make the needed repairs. However, if crews see more improvements are needed underneath to prevent more problems in the future, phase two could bring the expenses more than $100 million.

Miller says the loan is more of a line of credit to help make payments going forward in the next 120 days to take care of incoming invoices, until the bond is secured to pay for permanent repairs. Miller assured the money used in the loan will be paid in full down the line.

The crucial repairs at this time are the broken pipe and the interceptor.

New on the job as Public Works Commissioner, Miller is getting support from the county's board of commissioners.

"We are going to be purchasing some of the metal, some of the steel that is going to be required to build this shaft will be over the collapsed section of bypass so that you can get down and fix this. This shaft is going to be about 300 feet long, about 22 feet wide and 60 feet deep. It is going to be a very big shaft and will require structures within there so you have the safety of anybody getting in there and working on it."

The Mayor of Sterling Heights announced the City has retained a lawyer to see who should be responsible for footing the bill on repairs since identifying the cause has become difficult to figure out.

Miller said she expects to have a clearer picture of the total cost by next month. Water and sewer rates are expected to rise, but until next month she does not know how much rates are expected to go up.