September 25, 2018

Standish Twp. strikes 40-year water deal with Saginaw Chippewa tribe

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STANDISH TWP. — Capping off a process that has been years in the making, Standish Township has reached a contract with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to supply water and treat soils of the White’s Beach subdivision.

The agreement was regarded by Township Supervisor Bob North as “the biggest thing that has happened in Standish Township since the inception of the township,” due to its positive environmental impact and the drinkable water and working sewer system it will provide the White’s Beach subdivision.

“A good share of population in the White’s Beach area is burdened with purchasing water,” North said. “They are burdened with possibly dealing with water softeners, water salt and they have experienced a lot of issues with septic fields. This will remedy that.”

North said the lack of water and sewage at White’s Beach had been an issue since the ’80s but when the current board received reports indicating unacceptable levels of E. coli bacteria in the water, that’s when they decided something needed to be done.

After securing a grant funding 75 percent of the project from the USDA Rural Development, the board began negotiations with the tribe, North said.

Initially, the board was unable to reach an agreement with the tribe. However, after four years they reached a deal that was fair and equitable to both parties, North said.

“When this board was seated, it was our goal to establish a good relationship and good rapport with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe,” North said. “We’ve been very successful in that endeavor. We have what I’d call an excellent relationship with the tribe, and it only makes sense because they are a partner in trying to make our township, our community and our county a better place.”

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Interim Public Relations Director Erik Rodriguez said the tribe shared a mutual excitement over the contract and said he believed the agreement would have significant impact on the residents of Arenac County.

“This is a great cooperative effort that shows how when you have an intergovernmental agreement between two agencies come together, it benefits the community as a whole,” Rodriguez said. “We are proud to be partners with Standish Township and look forward to the strengthened and renewed ties we have with them.”

Both North and Rodriguez were unable to discuss the monetary details of the project at the time but North said the information will be discussed at an upcoming town hall meeting and residents will receive a letter detailing the contract’s details in the near future.

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