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Lake district questions

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 4:54 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
A letter in the May 13 Tomahawk Leader:

Letter to the Editor:

After reading the article in the April 29 Tomahawk Leader regarding the proposed Lake Nokomis Protection District, and attending the public hearing May 2 at the Nokomis Town Hall, I believe the following issues/questions need to be addressed:

1. Why did the lake district petitioners have an unlimited amount of time to raise the 51 percent signatures required, while those with objections only had four business days to file an objection?

2. Of the letter received in those four days, 56 were against formation of the district and only two were for the district.

3. Why did the lake district proponents push to have the public hearing at 4 p.m. on Friday at the Nokomis Town Hall, when the town chairman had arranged to hold the meeting at the school for free on a Saturday in order to accommodate more people at a more convenient time?

4. One hundred seventy-seven people attended the meeting, and others were turned away due to the maximum capacity at the town hall. The majority of those who spoke were against formation of the district.

5. Some property owners who had signed the petition and later requested their signature be removed found out their signature had not been removed.

6. Some property owners who had signed the petition were misled as to what they were signing (some thought it was a one-time donation), while others were pressured with multiple requests to sign.

7. Some property owners within the district never had the chance to sign or object to the petition. They were not contacted by a petitioner or letter, and knew nothing about the proposed lake district.

8. Because it took almost two years to get the required number of signatures, how many properties have since been sold to new owners who knew nothing about the petition?

9. Why is the Bradley Dam not included in the district boundaries?

10. Why are non-riparian properties included in the district boundaries? Some properties are more than three-quarters of a mile away from the lake. According to two attorneys and an appraiser at the public meeting, the only property owners that would receive a “real and demonstratable” benefit from the district are those on the lake and those with lake access.

11. The Leader article mentioned the tax levy on the lake district properties would be 25 cents per $1,000. In addition to the levy, the law states property owners may also be taxed for (1) special assessments at an additional 25 cents per $1,000, (2) principal and interest on debt incurred by the district (for example, the purchase of a boat)-no maximum cap, (3) lawsuits brought against the lake district-no maximum cap. (Note at least two property owners have already hired attorneys.)

12. The proponents of the lake district state the main issue is dealing with invasive species such as milfoil. However, this additional layer of government has the power to create a sanitary district, public parks, a water safety patrol unit, etc.

13. What will the chemicals used to treat the milfoil do to property owners’ drinking water, and to the aquatic wildlife?

Ann Young

Re: Lake district questions

Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:49 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
A Letter to the Editor in the May 20, 2008, Tomahawk Leader:

Dear Neighbors, Fellow Rice Reservoir Landowners:

Many people have been inspired by the beauty and serenity of the great Wisconsin Northwoods. … This is called God’s Country for a reason. So, in December 2003, my Bridge Lake home became my primary residence.

My search for Bridge Lake’s lake association led me to the Lake Nokomis Concerned Citizens (LNCC), which I joined. It was important for me to keep updated on current lake issues. In 2004, invasive species threats such as rusty crayfish, purple loosestrife and Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) were just emerging. Now, EWM threatens to take over several areas on the Rice Reservoir. ... Left untreated, EWM will destroy native water plants and animals (and) render the water useless for recreational activities. LNCC is the only group actively and effectively fighting invasive species on the Rice Reservoir. Monetary donations from residents, community and grants from the state help fund this fight. However, the weed grows faster than it can be controlled. The biggest effect on riparian landowners will be lower property values.

Recently, LNCC sent a petition and letter detailing the creation of a new lake district for the Rice Reservoir (Lake Nokomis, Bridge and Deer Lake channel). The arguments were enlightening and persuasive. However, questions lingered about how this organization would operate, how much it would cost me, and how my property would be represented. So, I went to an LNCC board meeting for answers.

The district will have five to seven commissioners. Oneida County and the town of Nokomis will appoint one each. The towns of Bradley and Little Rice will be represented along with three others. At the annual meeting, district members (owners of land on and very near, Lake Nokomis and Bridge Lake) determine the composition of and elect candidates to the board of commissioners. This board carries out the wishes of the district members. Members also vote on an agenda and budget for the next year. A fee based on district needs and member approval can change yearly. The fee appears on your annual property tax bill but is used only by the lake district for the issues decided upon by members.

At first I was skeptical. Not any more. There is a small group of people dedicated to keeping the Rice Reservoir beautiful and safe (but) their goals cannot be accomplished due to community apathy and limited funds. The efforts of David Nycz and others have limited EWM effects. Clearly, the fight must continue and expand! Your help is needed.

We, the riparian landowners and our off-water neighbors, need to band together and manage the problems nature and visitors bring to our lakes. … A tax-deductible lake district fee, imposed by the landowners themselves, will fairly spread the costs of maintaining our lake’s beauty and land values. Every lake district property (and owner) will benefit by district actions on important lake issues (such as invasive species, dam maintenance, water levels, the fishery) and suffer if no action is taken.

Read the information. Ask questions. Get involved. … Your support for this new lake district will keep the Rice Reservoir a true gem of the Northwoods.

Your Neighbor,
Peter Lloyd