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Idea floated to form taxing district to manage Silver Lake
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PROTECTING A NATURAL RESOURCE

Idea floated to form taxing district to manage Silver Lake

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SALEM LAKES — A group of Silver Lake residents has asked the Salem Lakes Village Board to create the Silver Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District, a taxing body that would include properties immediately adjacent to the lake and would oversee lake management.

Jim Purinton, a member of the Silver Lake Protection Association’s Committee on District Feasibility, presented the request to the board this week. A legal description of the proposed boundaries of the district is being created by the committee, which reportedly has garnered support from the majority of property owners to be included.

“Like our other committee members and lakefront property owners here tonight, I’ve owned property on Silver Lake for many, many years and have become involved at this time because of my concern with the take-over of our lake by the invasive weed, a hybrid of Eurasian milfoil,” Purinton told the board.

He said this effort differs from one last year “that ran into resident opposition.”

“We’ve overcome that opposition by more narrowly focusing the geography of the proposed district to only the properties which actually touch the lake,” Purinton said.

Those approximately 175 private properties are assessed at more than $64 million and pay annual real estate taxes of more than $1.17 million.

“Once formed, the lake district is estimated to cost (lake) district taxpayers about $75 per $100,000 valuation annually, or about $150 to $375 per year for properties assessed at $150,000 to $500,000, the vast majority of properties in the proposed district,” he said.

In August, the committee organized an effort to educate property owners within the proposed district and to solicit their support.

“We were not surprised by the results,” Purinton said. “Lakefront property owners understand the seriousness of the issues confronting the lake, and they overwhelmingly responded.”

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Of the 234 lakefront property owners, 170, or about 75 percent, signed a petition in support of forming the district.

“You don’t get that level of support from an apathetic audience,” Purinton said.

Other nearby districts

The Silver Lake district would operate like the lake districts in place for Hooker and Camp/Center lakes. Purinton said it is needed because the Silver Lake Protection Association that has worked to manage lake issues does not have the required resources to control invasive weed growth as a lake district.

“While the private Silver Lake Protection Association has taken the lead to manage the lake’s invasive weed issues over the past eight years, the problem has outgrown the Association’s financial abilities,” Purinton said.

Since 2013, Purinton said the Silver Lake Protection Association has spent more than $145,000 to manage the lake’s weed problem, funded by private donations and a one-time DNR grant. Treatments were undertaken in 2013 ($38,000) and 2015 ($82,000), as well as annual spot treatments, plant surveys and water tests (approximately $5,000/year), according to Purinton.

“Our lake consultant estimates that a whole-lake treatment will be required every four years,” Purinton said. “With annual spot treatments and surveys, the estimated average cost will exceed $30,000 per year.”

A survey conducted earlier this year shows invasive weeds in 45 percent of the sampling and that impassible beds are forming in the shallow western and southern portions of the lake.

“We expect our consultant will recommend significant treatment in 2021 when we get the final report later this year,” Purinton said.

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