Millage proposal for Republic Dam

North Central UP

REPUBLIC, Mich., (WJMN) – On November 3, residents of Republic Township will vote on a millage that will provide funding for repairs and maintenance to the Republic dam.

The millage increase would be up to one mil, or $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value. It would continue for three years, from 2020 through 2022. The estimated collection for the first year is is $80,973.00 if the millage passes.

James Brennan, chairperson of the Michigamme River Basin Authority, says they have some grant money for repairs but still need some more for the full project.

“We have $100,000 from the Michigan Agriculture Rural Development that they’ve allowed us to hold onto for over an extra year if the millage pass we will be able to use that money to and what we’d like to do is put a spillway in which is still a dam it just is an overflow instead of an underflow and it requires less maintenance down the road,” said Brennan.

Republic Dam, photo courtesy of James Brennan

Brennan says that the spillway construction would cost $450,000. If they are unable to fund the spillway, he says they have other repairs the millage would cover.

“If we get support and we can fix the dam, it needs new guide rails, it needs some grout work and some metal put on the upriver side for future deterioration,” said Brennan. “That would be in the cost of the millage that would help us get that job done if we can’t find the extra money to do the spillway.”

Republic Dam, photo courtesy of James Brennan

Brennan says without the dam, there would be no river for recreation in Republic.

“The TIFA board and the township board started this in 2008 this is important for the town for economic development, they formed a water district within that water district is for economic development,” said Brennan. “The little bit of tax money that we’re allowed to keep for economic development we could put in other things and recreation along the river but without a river backed up we don’t have a river, so first project is to get the dam.”

The Republic Dam is regulated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Revenue from the millage will be disbursed the Michigamme River Basin Authority who operates the dam and is responsible for repairs.

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