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MLIVE - January 2011, updated January 2019

SANFORD — The owner of Sanford Lake Dam says he’s ready to repair the structure and return the lake behind it to its normal level this year.

But Lee Mueller says he won’t pay for the estimated $83,000 repair. Footing that bill is up to property owners and businesses that benefit from the 1,250-acre recreational impoundment in Midland County, he argues.

“Funds have to come from the people who derive the lake’s benefit,” said Mueller, owner of a company called Boyce Hydro.

“It’s a very simple concept — if you are a member of a golf club, you pay to keep the golf course in useable condition. If you live around a lake that is created by a civil structure, somebody has to pay for the dam,” he said Friday.

Sanford Lake is about 30 miles northwest of Bay City.

Waterfront property owners, who saw their docks left high and dry when 4 feet of water was dumped out of the impoundment last August after the dam's earthen dike began seeping, are upset at the thought of financing the repair work.

Gigi Scheyko, of Saginaw, owns three pieces of property on Sanford Lake. She says because Boyce Hydro is making money by selling electricity to Consumers Energy, it should repair the dam.

“He’s holding the dam hostage for someone else to fix it. Because he doesn’t want to fix it,” said Scheyko.

“He’s making money off the dam — he should pay for it.”

Mueller is standing pat for now. He says if funds aren’t raised for the repair work, Boyce Hydro will surrender its license to operate the dam and permanently drain Sanford Lake.

Joe Manelis, who lives on Sanford Lake, said he couldn't imagine the county allowing the lake to be drained. ...
Read full report at MLIVE