LAKE LEELANAU WATERFRONT OWNERS BEWARE!
The Leelanau County Board of Commissioners is considering the creation of a Lake Leelanau Lake Board. This UNELECTED board would have the power to spend any amount they deem necessary to control invasive plant and aquatic species in Lake Leelanau, and to invoice you on your property tax bill to cover what they spend. You will have no vote on the amounts spent, the projects pursued, or the longevity of this board or its expenditures. You will simply be required to pay your assessment, or surrender your property to the county. The numbers in parentheses below are references to the applicable section of this law.
WHO WE ARE
Doug Rexroat, Jozell Rexroat, Shelia Schaub, Larry Schaub, Linda Mikowski, Greg Mikowski, Joan Garvin, Dennis Garvin, Sam Hearne, Terri Hearne, Matt Spinniken, Syrena Bean, Michael Bean, Tim Haring, Karol Haring, Joan Garvin, Dennis Garvin, Jim Bunek, Alissa Bunek, Rosemary McNally, Don Korson, MaryAnn Korson, Scott Linguar, Rebecca Linguar, Annette Kendziorski, Patrick Kendziorski, Mary Taylor, Rick Henry, Sandy Henry, Cathy Abbott, Rick Abbott, Patti Yearn-Anderson, Rick Anderson, Matt Slaven, Pat Slaven, Caleb Schaub, Milt Bulmann, Judy Petroskey, Dan Grant, Chris Crump, Melissa Crump, Mary Nussbau, Andrew Nussbaum, Karen Woolsey, Ed Woolsey, Julius Bunek, Cheryl Bunek, Maria Putt, Mike Wiggins, Tom Alflen, Sarah Morio, Peter Morio, Dave Novak
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?
A simple majority vote of our county commissioners is all it takes for the Lake Board to be created. LAKEFRONT OWNERS WHO ARE THE ONES WHO WILL PAY THE BILL WILL HAVE NO VOTE IN THE MATTER. This is authorized by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994, Part 309. (324.30902) Once this board is authorized you will have very limited legal avenues to address any injustices. Indeed, since the board can tax you for its administrative and legal expenses, you would be in the difficult position of paying for your legal challenge, and paying for the board’s defense of your legal challenge. (324.30927)
WHO IS ON THE BOARD?
A county commissioner, a representative appointed from each of the townships bordering the lake, the County drain commissioner or his representative, and one lakefront owner. Only one member of this board is required to be an elected official. Only one member of this board is required to be a lakefront owner. The only member on the board with a term limit is the lakefront owner. YOU WILL HAVE NO VOTE ON WHO THE BOARDS MEMBERS ARE. You can offer your input to your township as to the selection of their lake board representative, but be aware, Lake Leelanau waterfront owners on the average in Leelanau County make up approximately 6 percent of the population. That does not put any of us in a strong bargaining position. (324.30903)
HOW MUCH WILL BE SPENT?
THERE IS NO STATUTORY LIMIT ON THE DOLLAR AMOUNT! YOU WILL HAVE NO VOTE ON THE AMOUNT! The board, once authorized will retain an engineering firm to determine the required actions and costs. There will be a public hearing, but the board will be under no obligation to alter the costs or the plan no matter what the input is. This public hearing is advertised and open to anyone who wants to attend, including those who are not lakefront owners and even those who are not citizens of Leelanau County. Non-lakefront owners (who will not be responsible for paying the bills) such as restaurants, bars, lodging establishments, retail establishments, and sportsmen and boaters (from anywhere), all of whom benefit from a healthy lake Leelanau will have input at these public meetings. (324.30909, 324.30910, and 324.30912)
WHO WILL PAY?
YOU WILL, AND WITHOUT ANY VOTE. A special assessment district will be established at the lake board’s sole discretion. While it is possible to expand the assessment district to the neighboring townships this never happens. None of the existing lake boards in Michigan include anyone other than lakefront owners, and those who own frontage on adjoining rivers and bodies of water, and deeded access to the lake. Be aware that non-profit entities that may be exempt from property taxes may still be subject to the special assessment. YOU WILL HAVE NO VOTE ON THE MAKEUP OF THIS SPECIAL ASSESSMANT DISTRICT. (324.30908)
HOW LONG WILL THIS BOARD AND ITS SPENDING AND TAXING AUTHORITY EXIST?
PRACTICTLY, FOREVER. This board will exist until it decides it is done. There is no legal time limit. Since you can never completely remove an invasive species the board will exist ad infinitum. AS A LAKEFRONT OWNER, YOU WILL HAVE NO DIRECT VOTE AS TO WHEN THIS BOARD IS DISSOLVED. You will continue to pay whatever assessment they determine, as will your heirs and assigns. (324.30929)
WHAT CAN I DO?
You need to call and send letters to all Leelanau County Commissioners immediately and tell them to reject this unelected, undemocratic, and unfair lake board. You can contact all commissioners no matter what district you are in. Attend the commissioner meetings and make your voice heard. YOU MUST ACT NOW. IF YOU DO NOT, THE COMMISSIONERS WILL AUTHORIZE THIS LAKE BOARD, AND THERE IS NO WAY TO UNDO IT! THEY MAY TAKE ACTION AT THE NEXT MEETING. Call your neighbors on the lake and let them know that they need to make their voice heard. Use social media and spread the word. Tell them to visit LLlakeinfo.org.
MEETING DATES AND CONTACT INFORMATION
COMMISIONERS MEETING DATES: TUESDAY JULY 13th 9 AM, TUESDAY JULY 20th 7 PM.
COMMISSIONERS CONTACT INOFRMATION:
Rick Robins District 1 231.409.1140 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Rushton District 2 231.941.8286 email@example.com
William Bunek District 3 231.866.4247 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ty Wessel District 4 231.432.0066 email@example.com
Patricia Soutas-Little District 5 231.218.8496 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gwenne Allgaier District 6 231.228.6763 email@example.com
Melinda C Lautner 231.947.2509 firstname.lastname@example.org
General mailbox email@example.com
A group of Lake Leelanau community members have ALREADY offered to fundraise the amount of money equivalent to what has been previously spent by the board until we, the community, can find a more democratic structure and equitable solution.
Several Lake Leelanau community members are also partnering with state representatives to address shortfalls in the existing laws.
3) VOLUNTEER GROUP
Due to the response we have received, we believe we can establish a volunteer group that will fundraise in excess of what the board has spent in previous years.
We WANT to solve the Eurasian Water Milfoil problem and
we WANT to persevere Lake Leelanau!
Please read the statement below for more clarification.
We acknowledge the need to address the Eurasian Water Milfoil problem in Lake Leelanau. We would support any democratically structured organization that allowed for direct control of plans and expenditures by those of us who will be required to pay the bill. There are other methods to attack this problem. Stay tuned for more information on our efforts to create a more equitable, democratic, and fair solution.