At its meeting Thursday night, the Brighton City Council approved an agreement with Brighton Township regarding the Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church and School at Hacker and Hyne roads in Brighton Township.

The agreement removes the church property from the city’s water service area and, as a result, Shepherd of the Lakes will be able to start a process church officials hope will lead to an agreement with the Marion, Howell Township, Oceola and Genoa Township Sewer and Water Authority, better known as M-HOG. Although the city has had a franchise agreement with the church, the parish never connected to city water. Instead, the church has been served by a well, which recently tested positive for elevated levels of arsenic.

Now, the church is involved in an expansion project, and wants to connect to M-HOG, which has a water line just across Hacker Road from the church property in Genoa Township.

The parish must still negotiate with, and receive the approval of, Brighton Township, Genoa Township, and M-HOG in order to receive M-HOG water. City Manager Nate Geinzer says the city wants to do the right thing and be a good neighbor, since the city water line is nowhere near the church, being about a mile south of there on Hacker, and the church would be responsible for the huge expense of extending the water line.

As for the future possibility of neighboring properties in an adjacent subdivision wanting to hook up to city water, city engineers and staff say the likelihood of that happening is virtually nil, since they - like the church — would be responsible for the cost of extending the line.
One provision in the agreement requires that if Brighton Township decides in the future to extend its water service area as a part of the Livingston Community Water Authority, then the parties involved would agree to negotiate with the township to connect to the authority’s water service.

The motion to remove Shepherd of the Lakes Church from the city’s water service area passed 5-0, with council member Jim Bohn abstaining because he is a church member. (TT)