Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the Gull Lake Dam Association:
1. How much will the project cost?
The current estimate of probable cost from Prein & Newhof is $700,000.
2. How long will the project take to complete?
The estimated timeline from Prein & Newhof is 12-15 months based on the following activities:
- Fall to Winter – Complete topographical survey, soil borings and geotechnical analysis, and engineering design.
- Late Winter to Early Spring – Submit permit to the MDEQ
- Summer – Bid Project, assuming permitting and funding are available. Submit soil erosion and sedimentation control permit to the County Enforcing Agency.
- From Labor Day to Early Fall – Begin construction on earth embankment. Complete earth work with enough time to establish vegetation on east and west embankments.
- Fall to Winter – Construct Spillway
- Spring – Restore site
3. How will lake level be controlled during dam re-construction?
During dam construction, the lake level will be controlled by a temporary steel pile coffer dam and pumps.
4. What is the projected project start date?
Starting in fall, there will be a complete topographical survey, soil borings and geotechnical analysis, and engineering design. Actual dam construction will not begin until all funding is secured. We would like to “put a shovel in the ground in Fall 2019.
5. Why does fund raising begin in May 2019?
There are several activities that need to be completed prior to starting our fund-raising campaign. They include 1) applying for a grant from the Michigan DNR Dam Management program to help defray costs, 2) restructuring the Gull Lake Association from a stock-based non-profit corporation to a directorship non-profit corporation, 3) applying for and obtaining non-profit 501(c)(3) status and 4) updating and monetizing the Gull Lake Association website to facilitate on-line giving. We estimated completion of these activities by the end of March 2019.
6. Why are donations based on per frontage foot?
Several methods of parsing donations were discussed by the committee. It was felt that requesting donations on a lakeshore frontage foot basis was the simplest and most equitable method.
7. What will you do if there are excess contributions?
Any excess contributions will be used to maintain the new dam.
8. Will you collect from non-lake front property with access or keyhole dock access?
9. Is the money I sent in for 2018 dues count toward my contribution?
No. The annual dues will not be used to build the dam. As in the past, the annual dues will be used to maintain the dam and pay for liability insurance.
10. Why not finance the dam re-construction with mandatory assessments?
In our deliberations for fund raising, the committee considered methods to allow for public funding. Currently, townships, cities and villages are prohibited by law from donating monies to a private group such as the Gull Lake Association. Shifting costs from our lake association to local government could be accomplished by 1) developing special assessment districts by township, 2) creating a statutory Lake Board or 3) using township general funds (MCL 41.418) through resident petitions (typically done for weed control). These are a complex/time-consuming processes. This is made more complex for Gull Lake because the lake is surrounded by four townships and two counties. Special assessment districts and Lake Boards are government functions that are by definition controlled by those government entities, not by the Gull Lake Dam Association. The committee felt that control of the Gull Lake Dam (i.e. the lake level) would be better served through the largest stakeholders, the lake front property owners.
11. Have available grants been explored to help defray costs?
Yes. We have applied for grant money through the Michigan DNR Dam Management program.
12. Will the Association increase annual contributions to avoid another “surprise expense”?
There are currently no plans to increase annual contributions. Once the Gull Lake Association has been restructured to a directorship, non-profit corporation and the dam construction project is complete, the Gull Lake Association will reassess annual dues with an eye toward on-going maintenance and contingency planning.