Lake Mitchell Improvement Board
Lake Mitchell Improvement Board meeting minutes - December 7, 2015
Call to Order: 3 PM
Roll Call: All present
Additions/Deletions: Item 3# “Questionnaire'; moved to item 5# after “Consultant's
October 19 minutes approved.
Tom Talluto noted that many lake residents are not available for midday weekday meetings and would like Saturday or evening meetings.
Ton Jacobson, LMIB treasurer, just received current money totals from townships so an accurate up-to-date is not available. He did present figures as of 10-14-15.
Revenue - $158,192; Expenditures – 112,699; Fund balance $359,578.
He gave a summary of some budget issues in which presented a formula based on past expenditures for weed treatment that would budget $200,000 annually for weed treatment and hold an additional $100,000 for fund balance for a total of $300,000. If a $300,000 fund balance was exceeded, the assessments in future years could be lowered. Current fund balance is $359, 578.
Project Manager: Dave Stinger added an amendment to the guidelines for a project management process which was approved at the October meeting. The amendment required that a project receive Board approval.
Motion made by Dave Foley, seconded by Mark Howie approved the amended project management process for use by the Lake Mitchell Improvement. Passed unanimously.
LMIB member, Dave Stinger noted that only about ¼ of lake residents are available for January public hearings and wondered if they could be moved later, perhaps May. Chairman Solomon pointed out that notification must be made to townships and city by May in order to get assessments on the tax rolls. Hearings must be made at least by March at the latest to adhere to all date protocols for completing the process.
Solomon suggested raising the 3-year setting of assessments (public hearings) from 3 years to 5 years. Adding two years to the period would save money as it costs about a thousand dollars to do 700 person mailing, post official notices in local paper, and make arrangements. Assessment could easily be lowered at any time. If needed it could be raised if there were unexpected expenses. There was a question if a feasibility study would be needed. Rex Barker, checked the statutes and said no study would be needed if done by an improvement Board. If a governmental agency (e.g. DNR,DEQ) desired to make the change, a study would be needed. Jennifer contacted our lawyer's office and was told a feasibility study would be needed. Under necessity to pay for a feasibility study it was unclear to the board whether this was needed and requires clarification prior to the January meeting.
Motion was made by Howie and seconded by Stinger to raise assessment period from 3 years to 4. Unanimously approved.
Motion was made by Howie and seconded by Stinger to prepare a feasibility study and pay out, not to exceed cost of $1000, for the January public hearing. Passed unanimously.
Motion made by Stinger and seconded by Howie to change public hearing date from January 7 to March 12, 2015.
Differential Assessment: Currently assessments are made based on location of property (front or back lot) and its nature (commercial or residential). Under differential assessment, properties could be assessed based on their need and the cost of addressing that need. Discussion was made about the possibility of assessing differently/additionally for property owners on coves and canals that may require work that is proportionally higher than that which is done on the main lake. pros and cons were identified and figures from the last 3 years was reviewed.
Dave Stinger presented numbers from a six year study of assessments in the coves and canal. The numbers indicated that the coves and assessment dollars contributions far exceeded the assessment dollars that were spent in these areas. Stinger indicated he did not understand why we were even talking about differential assessment based on those numbers.
Motion made by Mark Howie and seconded by Dave Foley was made to NOT do differential assessments at this time. Yes votes – Foley, Stinger, Shari Spoelman, Howie; No votes – Tom Jacobson, Mike Solomon.
If a situation where a segment of the lake population needed an extraordinary costly project done, differential assessments could be discussed again.
First Tier/Second Tier:
It has been suggested by our attorney and consultant that we change our designation from the current “front lot”, “back lot” to”first tier” and "second tier” for assessment descriptions. This may help with some questions property owners have about their designation. Changing designation from the current “front lot”, “back lot” or “commercial” to”first tier”, second tier” ETC would allow new descriptions of assessments.
Dave Stinger prepared a questionnaire asking lake property owners about where they would like to spend funds exceeding the fund balance. Dave Foley suggested that one additional choice be added which would reflect a property owner's desire to have excess money be returned as part of a reduction in assessment. Shari Spoelman felt that the questionnaire was something that should be done by the Association. Board indicated that they only wanted to treat weeds with assessment dollars not use the money for other lake improvements.
Stinger proposed a motion but it received no support.
Correspondence: Dave Foley read the following letter set to the Board via mail:
In light of the boards continued focus on recommending that certain property owners on the lake pay more for lake care and improvement (what your legal advisor has called differential assessment hearings) * ( which is a legal change in the financial taxing impact base in the State of Michigan) for lake improvement, I would politely like to suggest that this meeting meets on a day when the working public that is not local, which is a very large share of the tax base, is available. State of Michigan documents were provided to the LMIB in the past (2009) clearly identifying the lake as one entity and the LMIB responded to these documents clearly identifying there place to upholding this point. Both the LMIB and Cherry Grove responded in writing. If changes were made to that position they were not published to the tax base as required. Also the fact that the board is going to talk about financial impact to the public tax base requires that all lake owners be notified not just the E-mail list which is less than 30%. I apologize if this was done, but it does not appear so. . I would question the legal advice here that the board is acting on. It is not that the LMIB does not need to act on these types of challenges, and they are tough challenges, it is the process. I would like for this note to be filed in the LMIB meeting notes. The board has made it legal to accept e-notes on record from lake owners in the past.
Ronald T Moelker
Franke S Members
Dennis Brinks - “Why is this a new assessment if all you are doing is renewing the previous assessment?” Consultant Jenifer Jermalowicz-Jones response: “Every time an assessment is renewed,the plan must be presented to the public for their input.”
Rex Barker – In response to an earlier exchange where Mike Solomon declined to have letter from Board attorney be put in the minutes citing attorney-client privilege.
Baker noted that that privilege does not exist in this case because all lake property owners are the “clients.”
Barker, reading from a notice for chemical treatment posted at canal last summer, noted that there were fewer chemicals listed on that than were listed on a report of chemicals used prepared by Professional lake Management.
Barker also found inconsistency among dates reported when harvesting was done and when he observed said harvesting.
Alan Anderson – Thanked the Board for their work for being proactive on the question of differential assessments and encouraged the Board to continue to examine this issue so they will be ready if a huge improvement project is needed for a smaller section of the lake. He also encouraged Board to reconsider going to 5 years just for the money it would save on fees for creating a public hearing..
Sperry Claypool – Indicated his support for the Board's work and encouraged Board to be use website and emails to explain the nature of public hearings and why the period was being expanded to 4 years.
Ron Klimp - Thanked the Board for its dedication and hoped meeting dates could be set to include more of the Association members. Felt the survey would be a positive step and pointed out that when making a differential assessment it could be difficult to set boundaries for the special area. Also pointed out that he still had great mulch and topsoil that had been created by decomposing weeds deposited on his property.
Lake Mitchell Improvement Board Meeting -- October 19, 2015
Call to order, Soloman
All present except Foley
Approved agenda all voted yes
Tom Medendorf questioned who controls flow out of the dam? Soloman to respond during the chair portion of the meeting
Balance at this time is $359,578.96. This matches Cherry Grove numbers (cherry grove township pays all invoices)
Motion to approve passed unanimously
Discussion on Assessment
Soloman indicated we might want to move from a 3 yr. to 5 yr. assessment period. Soloman also indicated our lawyer thought we might want to go to a 2 tier assessment
Public hearing will be Feb 7, 2016
Board will meet for a working session 12/1/15 at 9am to discuss budget proposals for the upcoming public meeting
Stinger presented a project management proposal. Jacobson and Stinger will review wording and present final proposal at the next meeting.
Reserve fund committee report by Spoelman
Would like a balanced budget where revenue and expenses match
Recommend a $90,000 reserve as goal, motion unanimously approved
Discussion on approving contracts for PLM and RLS for 2016
Stinger made a motion to bid out contracts this year motion died for lack of support
Approve PLM contract 5 yes 1 no motioned passed
Approve RLS contract 5 yes. Mike abstained for conflict of interest motion passed
Jennifer provided contract to the board for RLS. Jennifer to provide PLM contract to Stinger
RLS report less than 10 acres of milfoil, question whether we should treat now but decided it would not be effective. Weed treatment was very effective this year
Soloman commented that the lake was 3/10ths of a foot below normal mainly due to lack of precipitation this year
Soloman said that he has to follow the judge’s order that the maximum lake level is 1,290 feet above sea level and there is a summer minimum of 1,289.7 By December 15, he has to lower the lake by another 5/10ths of a foot to 1,288.9
Spoelman asked that all documentation be provided to the board prior to each meeting
Next meeting January 11, 2016
Lake Mitchell Improvement Meeting – August 31, 2015
A. Call to Order: 4:00
B. Roll Call:Present – Stinger, Jacobson,Solomon, Foley; Absent – Spoelman, Howie
C. Public Comments:
Jay Puvogel – Harvesting was a success – a bass was caught, sand is visible on sides, more open water is visible.
Rex Barker – The high cost of the canal project is a concern, but since the problem has been developing since the canal was dug in the 1960s that puts the cost per year in perspective. The recent work has created navigable water that is several feet deep.
Bob Shumway -There is a build up of mud at the east end of the canal.
D. Agenda Items:
Harvesting of Torenta Canal expenses:
$4000 Building of takeout site on Elm Boulevard
$2000 Moving of vegetative matter to Klimp Farm (approximate)
$4500 Cost of two days of harvesting
TomJacobson – Visited canal three times and noted a heavy algae buildup at the west entry point, but found the rest navigable with 2-3 feet of open water.
Mike Solomon – Noted that lake level is five inches below legal limit and in answer to a question added that 50 loads of algae and decomposed vegetation had been taken out.
Dave Foley – Felt that while canal was improved, more work will be needed to keep canal open through next boating season. Suggested it may be time to consider creating a test area for aeration.
Mike Solomon – Based on information provided by attorney Clifford Bloom, Solomon believes it might be time to consider differential assessments for areas needing special work. Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones, the LMIB's consultant, is working with several lakes which have differential assessments. This should be considered during special hearings that will held next year in order to determine assessments.
Tom Jacobson – In reference to the three days of harvesting which will soon begin in the canal, Jacobson wanted to be sure that at the end of the job, it will be possible to navigate the length of the canal.
Dave Stinger – Emphasized that attention must be given to both ends of canals so all residents can benefit. Since collected material must now be hauled eight miles to Klimp's Farm, the harvester may be waiting for the truck to return. He inquired if a 2nd truck was available. Stinger Also wondered if the chemical used , SeeClear, was effectively killing chladophora algae. (answers to Stinger's question – SeeClear is supposed to kill algae and adding a second truck would add another person to the work which would increase costs. )
Motion: Dave Stinger moved (and Dave Foley seconded) a motion to move forward with the hiring of PLM (Professional Lake Management) to do three more days of harvesting in the canal at a proposed cost of $7000.
Motion: Dave Stinger Moved (and Dave Foley seconded) a motion to move $10,000 from the contingency fund to the weed management fund to fund the canal harvesting.
E. Public Comments:
Rex Barker – Feels the canal will not fill up again by next summer (a possibility mentioned by Dave Foley). Favors spending a couple thousand a year to harvest algae rather than invest $90,000 in an aeration experiment.
Tony Sieler – Wondered if chladophora grew in canal or was blown into it. Mike Solomon replied that it appeared to be growing in areas like the coves and canal where there was little water circulation.
Dave Stinger asked if the purpose of aeration was to decompose algae and was told that was the purpose. Jennifer has16 sites where she is using aeration.
Sperry Claypool – Noted that condition of Little Cove is slowly deteriorating and residents there might be open to deferential assessment.
Motion: Tom Jacobson (and Mike Solomon seconded) moved that the LMIB look into making a provision for differential assessments during the next series of public hearings.
Lake Mitchell Improvement Board Meeting – August 10, 2015
Call to Order: 10:03
Roll Call: Present: Shari Spoelman, Mike Solomon, Tom Jacobson, Dave Stinger, Dave Foley and RLS consultant Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones; Absent: Mark Howie
Additions/Deletions: Additions – Approval of budget review, Update on Torenta Canal, harvesting in Franke North and status of financial reserve.
Approval of the agenda: Unanimous
Approval of June 27 and July 16 minutes: Motions were made and both were approved.
Rex Barker wondered if there were copies of the agenda for the audience and they were supplied.
Treasurer's Report (Jacobson): Tom passed out most recent budget for financial year of 2015/2016:
$310,000 est. balance June 30, 2015
$157,950 anticipated revenue
$205,525 anticipated expenditures
$262,425 est. balance June 30, 2016
Anticipated Revenue – July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 - $210,350
Anticipated Expenses – July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 - $110,237.61
Torenta Canal Report:
A ramp, at a cost of about $4000, was built at the end of the canal to expedite off loading of aquatic vegetation, which will save time and money of the cleanup.
A harvester will be working in the canal beginning August 11 or 12.
North Franke Harvesting: Although milfoil is present and must treated, some harvesting will occur.
Originally LMIB set as a goal to accumulate $60,000 as a financial reserve. Dave Stinger: Now that aquatic vegetation control expenses are much lower, it might be a time to put aside $60,000 or even $100,000 in reserve. Jones: Costs of controlling vegetation problems can fluctuate as plants hybridize and greater dosages are required or more expensive chemicals are needed. In addition some years plants may be more abundant. Stinger: Maybe this should be a priority before lowering assessment. Jones: (In answer to question) There is no legal limit as to how much can be kept in reserve. Jones: $100,000 is a good amount to keep on hand. Solomon appointed a committee of Spoelman, Jacobson, Solomon and Alan Anderson to make recommendations on financial reserve.
Consultant's Report (Jones):
Schedule of chemical treatments:
June 1 – Coves, canal and shallow water areas o lake are treated.
June 17 – Main lake is treated.
June 18 – Treatment of main lake continues.
July 17 – 2nd Treatment of areas with problem weeds
July 27 – Frank South and Little Cover are treated.
July 31 - 2nd Treatment of canal and Little Cove
August 5 – Areas of new milfoil, 30 acres, and 2 acres of retreatment.
August 13 – Canal and Franke Coves to be harvested.
Jay Puvogel – Will harvesters damage water intakes for sprinkler systems? Solomon suggested signs be put saying “Water intake”
Ron Klimp: Will harvester pick up chladophora? Solomon: We hope so.
Ron Moelker: When harvester comes to do North Franke, could it take out lily pads in South Franke? Solomon: We will check with them.
Bob Sayles: How deep will harvester go? Jones: About 6 feet.
Alan Anderson: Could property owners on canal be notified of date of harvesting? Foley: This was done two days ago.
Rex Barker: I am available to serve on LMIB committees.
Doug Oosterbaan: Will roadside pickup collect lily pads? Yes.
Tom Jacobson: We have over $200k set in expenditures for next year but we will not be taking in anywhere near that amount. This was just an FYI
In regards to the harvester... it will be here Tuesday or Wednesday and won't be back after harvesting. Foley suggested that maybe after August when they aren't too busy they could come back for touch-up areas.
Bud Oliver: Will be able to give the canal more “depth”. Jennifer said not really, the harvester might be able to pick up some of the slush.
Meeting adjourned: 11:15
At his point Bob Sayles brought up concerns about lake level and offered data he put together. A lengthy discussion ensued but is not included as lake level is not part of the mission of an Improvement Board
Lake Mitchell Improvement Board Minutes(Draft)
April 11, 2015
Call to order: 10:02
Roll Call: Present; Mike Solomon, Alan Anderson, Shari Spoelman, Mark Howie. Absent; Tom Jacobson. Also attending Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones, RSL consultant.
Additions/deletions to agenda:
Approval of the agenda: Approved unanimously
Approval of January 12, 2015 minutes: Unanimous
Public comments: None
Appointment of riparian representative (Foley/Howie): Dave Foley and Mark Howie having met with candidates recommended that Tom Jacobson be appointed as the representative-at-large for the LMIB. The Board agreed and the appointment was made.
Treasurer's Report (Anderson): Balance is $318,042.93.
Motion was made by Howie and seconded by Spoelman to increase the budget item for webmaster from $650 to $675 due to the increase in cost for the website. It passed unanimously.
Public letters being placed on LMIB website: It was decided, on the advice of the Board's attorney, who pointed out that he knows of no municipality that posts public letters or emails on their website that the LMIB will follow that precedent. Spoelman noted that the City doesn't post letters and Howie agreed, noting that the County doesn't either. Mark Howie moved that public letters or emails to the Board would only be on the website with the approval of the Board. Spoelman seconded the motion and it was passed with Solomon voting “No”.
Assessment Reduction(recommendation Anderson): After giving a report showing that the Board had been accumulating a surplus of funds, due largely to the decreasing monies needed for chemical treatment, treasurer Alan Anderson, who was part of a committee with Foley and Solomon, made the following recommendation based on the committee's recommendation to lower the assessment: Reduce first tier (lakefront properties) from $300 to $225; second tier (deeded access back lot properties) from $150 to $113 and from$600 to $450 for third tier (commercial property owners). The assessment can be adjusted annually if needed. Anderson then made a motion that was seconded by Howie to Reduce lakefront properties from $300 to $225; Deeded access back lot properties from $150 to $113 and from$600 to $450 to commercial property owners. This revised assessment will take effect for the summer tax bill. It passed unanimously.
Resolution to equalization(Foley): The resolution confirming the special assessment will be finished once the assessment for 2015 has been confirmed and the exact amount determined by equalization office. This must be done prior to June1, 2015.
A motion to approve the resolution was put forth by Foley and seconded by Solomon. The motion was unanimously passed.
Approval of weed pickup contract(Foley): A motion was made by Dave Foley and seconded by Howie to approve a contract submitted by Paul McDonald to do the 2015 Lake Mitchell roadside pickup from May 18th to September 11th for $7500. The motion passed unanimously.
By-laws amendments(Spoelman): Shari Spoelman and Alan Andersonwent through the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board By-Laws and made needed corrections. The revised By-Laws appear on the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board website – www.lakemitchell.org.
Among the revisions, key provisions included: Changing the term of the representative-at-large from three years to four in order be consistent with the Public Act 451 which created lake improvement boards and rewriting the conflict of interest which will now read as follows: No Lake Mitchell Improvement Board member shall, use, his or her official position to secure, request, , or unreasonably grant any special consideration, privilege, exemption, advantage, contract,or preferential treatment for himself, herself or others beyond that which is available top every other citizen.
Determination of Conflict: LMIB members shall disclose any conflict of interest which may influence , or be perceived to influence their decision. The question of whether a potential conflict of interest exists is a matter that should be brought to the Board. A conflict may exist where the member has a financial interest in the project,such as a direct relationship in a development, a professional or personal association with the applicant, or the project could be influenced or perceived as influence or having a direct impact on the individual's livelihood. LMIB members may question whether another board member has a conflict of interest.
It was pointed out that our By-Laws specify that the public comment period may be limited to fifteen minutes. This was found to be in conflict with the Open Meetings Act. The public comment period must stay open until all who wish to, have spoken. Spoelman said she will correct the By-Laws. Spoelman made a motion seconded by Solomon to approved the revised By-Laws with the changes removing limits to the public comment time. It passed unanimously.
Recommendation on portion of assessment to be used in canal or coves (Committee – Anderson,Foley, Claypool, Stinger): This committee will study this question and make a recommendation at the next Board meeting.
New resolution drafted by Cliff Bloom: The resolution that created the Lake Mitchell Board in 1988 under Public Act 451 was turned over to the Board's attorney, who redrafted it with small changes that do not change how the Board will function. Spoelman made a motion seconded by Anderson to approve the revised resolution. This passed unanimously.
Consultant’s report including action for 2015 in the Torenta Canal:
Jermalowicz-Jones noted that the survey of the coves and canal will take place on May 28 and the main lake will be surveyed on June 8. Treatment will occur about a week later. Harvesting in the canal is also planned.
Board comments and questions: None
Public Comments and questions: Ron Moelker from South Franke encouraged the treatment to begin as soon as possible.
Harry Engels asked for clarification of what a survey was and received that information.
Board resignation and replacement: Alan Anderson will be resigning his position as representative from Cherry Grove Township. Dave Stinger will succeed Anderson as the Cherry Grove Township representative.
Appointment of treasurer: Solomon, with the Board's approval, appointed Tom Jacobson to replace Alan Anderson as treasurer.
Public Comments: None
Committee member comments:
All members of the Board individually recognized the leadership, and skills AlanAnderson has brought to the Board both as a member and treasurer.
Dave Foley reported that the website has been updated and newsletter printed and will be mailed around the first week May. The mailing date depends on the chemical application date since the official notice cannot be made public earlier than 45 days before treatment. The notice is not currently on the website.
Chairman comments: Solomon noted the importance of the MSU extension and its value to our community and hoped all would vote in the May 5 election.
Summary of Alan Anderson's comments presented at January 12 Improvement Board meeting:
January 13, 2015
Synopsis of Comments to the LMIB on January 12, 2015
As we start a new calendar year, we have listened to comments from our constituents and here are some of the recent activities of the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board.
1. We have changed our by-laws regarding our riparian representative and extended the term from 3 to 4 years as required by statute.
2. We will re-examine our conflict of interest section of the by-laws.
3. We have asked our Consultant to not sit with the board to eliminate possible confusion as to who constitutes the board.
4. We have come to recognize that while Mr. Solomon is otherwise employed by our consultant and abstains from motions regarding our consultant, he can take further steps to ensure that all meeting attendees recognize that relationship. As an aside, his experience in that capacity with numerous other lake boards has been of significant benefit .
5. We have “sharpened our pencils” in regard to keeping better minutes and have posted corrected water levels on our website.
6. We have sought and received the legal opinion of a riparian expert.
7. We recognize the need to update the resolutions that created this board in 1989.
8. We have been advised that PA 188, sec. 41.732 regarding the refund of assessments in excess of 5%, does not apply to statutory lake boards. We will be discussing, however, whether it is advisable to reduce our current assessment level.
9. We have been advised that, consistent with PA 451, Part 309, sec. 324.30909, we are required to retain a licensed professional engineer to prepare an engineering feasibility report, an economic study report, and an estimate of cost for any new project. Dredging, for example, would be a new project.
Conversely, there is concern about some of the adversarial comments received by the board. For example, neither allegation of mismanagement of Lake Mitchell nor the unfounded assertion that our Chair is manipulating the lake level for personal gain is constructive or collaborative. In response, however, we can only be responsible for our own actions.
We can further a cooperative spirit of mutual consideration and respect with our constituents, with the gentle reminder that a great deal of experience, volunteer time and commitment has been put into a good faith effort to improve the conditions of our lake.
We are not required to be perfect but can better manage our meeting time, be introspective, and recommit to the guiding principles of our by-laws that “public comment is welcomed and valued, and everyone will be treated equitably”.
While we do not want to stifle dissent and differences of opinion, the best means to address issues and/or concerns with the LMIB is to appear at our scheduled public meetings and address the board, where all attendees can contribute. Recognizing that someone cannot always attend our public meetings, we would encourage comments/suggestions be reduced to writing and sent in care of the LMIB to Cherry Grove Township, and the Chairperson will ensure these concerns are brought to everyone’s attention. This is recommended in lieu of extensive emails to the personal email addresses of board members.
It is also important to acknowledge that while we have not been as successful in the Torenta Canal and certain other specific areas of the lake as we would prefer, we are looking at alternative means to address specific weed and algae issues. Conversely, we have had significant reduction in milfoil in the main part of Lake Mitchell, which is of benefit to all constituents.
We need not only move forward, but to move forward in an efficient, courteous, and collaborative manner.
Lake Mitchell Improvement Board Meeting (DRAFT) January 12, 2015
Call to Order : 10:02
Roll Call: Mike Solomon, Alan Anderson,Shari Spoelman, Mark Howie, Dave Foley, as well as RSL consultant Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones. Missing: At-large member (to be chosen)
Public Comments: none
Approval of the Agenda: unanimous
Approval of the Oct. 21 meeting minutes: unanimous
1. Election of chair: Mike Solomon nominated; elected unanimously.
Election of officers: Vice-chair, Shari Spoelman; Treasurer, Alan Anderson: Secretary, Dave Foley; Elected unanimous.
2. Appointment of riparian representative: Sperry Claypool, after serving 4+ years has decided not to remain on board. Those interested in joining the Board for a 4-year term need to contact Tom Jacobson (231-779-2413) or email at THJSAIL@hotmail.com by January 18. All those paying an assessment to the LMIB are eligible. Dave Foley and Mark Howie will interview candidates and make recommendations at next meeting.
The following motion was made by Alan Anderson and seconded by Mark Howie - The representative-at-large's term of service of the LMIB shall be four years in length and in order to be in complinace with Part 309 324.30903 item B ( the Inland Lakes Improvement Act) The motion was passed and the corection wll be made to the LMIB by-laws
3. Treasurer's Report- Alan Anderson -
1. Current Balance as of 11/30/14 is $319, 341.52.
2. Anderson clarified a concern brought up at our last meeting by explaining that decisions regarding what chemicals to use, what means to use and what locations to target are determined in the spring after a lake survey. The budget is simply an authority to spend. Anderson further listed a number of things the board had addressed (or was in the processing of addressing) in response to concerns and comments made by our constituents, mentioned we should improve our time management, referenced our guiding principles that public comment is welcomed and valued, was pleased we were looking at various options for weed and algae control in the Torenta Canal and other specific areas of the lake, was pleased at the success with milfoil in the main part of the lake, and hoped to move forward in an efficient, courteous, and collaborative manner.
4. Other business:
a.) Professional Memberships (Jones)
The Michigan Lakes and Streams Association (MLSA) is dedicated to helping riparians. The Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Association (MCNALMS )focuses on current research on lake management. Both organizations' annual membership is $50. Mark Howie made a motion seconded by Dave Foley which was passed with unanimous support authorizing the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board to join these organizations.
b.) Use of local attorneys - Anderson noted that, "A constituent had suggested that the LMIB might want to consider forming a collective group of attorneys who live on the lake to assist with legal issues.” Anderson said that he checked with a number of people, one of whom is a local attorney who lives on Lake Mitchell, and it was his opinion that most attorneys are “generalists” who do not routinely deal with the specifics of riparian law.
Mark Howie added that, attorneys living on the lake are more likely to be more familiar with Lake Mitchell's problems, they also might find it hard to be objective in making their recommendations. Howie felt it would be better to go with attorneys whose expertise might be in lake management.
c.) Bylaw review - Shari Spoelman and Alan Anderson will review the bylaws and report back at April meeting on changes that might be needed.
d.)Resolution for townships and city - After reviewing the township and city resolutions that created the LMIB it was noted there is a need to update theses resolutions. The LMIB is in the process of doing that.
e.)Lake levels - Previous minutes of the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board contained inaccuracies in reported lake levels. These have been corrected on the website. Mike Solomon (Drain commissioner) reported that lake levels were not a responsibility of the LMIB. Solomon also noted that it was , at times, difficult to exactly reach court required levels for spring, summer and fall legal levels, but he is working to be able top be closer to these legal requirements.
f.) Consideration of decreased assessment -LMIB treasurer, Alan Anderson, pointed out that the LMIB can annually legally assess lakefront property owners $300 for LMIB funds, it can also choose to assess them less. With a current balance $319,000, after a year in which chemical expenses were less than 50% of the year before due to less than expected acreage of weeds to treat, the lake board may have more cash than needs. It is recommended that a Board keep 10-15% in reserve since the amount of milfoil fluctuates year to year. Mike Solomon suggested he, along with Foley and Anderson, form a committee to look over recent years' expenses and develop an assessment recommendation for the coming year.
g.) Attorney cost controls - Howie raised the concern that the LMIB should not be paying for constituent contacts with our attorney, and it was clarified through discussion that our attorney had been informed of that. As far as setting procedures for contacting our attorney, anyone is free to do that. We will only pay for approved contact on behalf of the LMIB.
5.) Consultant's report (Jermalowicz-Jones) - Her annual report will be released soon and will be put on our website (www.lakemitchell.org).
Late season herbicide treatments in the main lake were successful. Franke South Cove was treated for two native nuisance plants and although the plants were killed, in the future harvesting may need to be done to remove dead vegetation. Algae samples have been taken from the Torenta Canal and are being tested to determine what treatment will be most effective in 2015. The biggest challenge in the canal is that it is stagnant and the wetland drainage is feeding the algae already present. An analysis of possible solutions to buildup of algae and sediment in the canal produced the following possibilities:
Dredging - An immediate solution but the sediment will return and the cost might be $50,000- $80,000.
Aeration - will reduce algae and muck, but requires electricity via a compressor and costs $19,000 the first year and $13,650 the 2nd and successive years.
Dredging and aeration are beyond LMIB budget and would require canal resident funding.
Small-mesh harvesting - Immediate relief of algae/sediment buildup but must be done annually. Cost $3000.
Chemical treatment of algae - works quickly but algae will return. $450 for 3 treatments.
Biological enzymes - Breaks down organic muck, may last an entire season. Cost $2500 for one treatment.
H. Approval of meeting dates -
The Board approved the following dates for 2015 meetings. Sat. 4/11 10am; Sat. 6/27, 10 am; Mon. 8/10, 10 am, Mon. 10/19, 10am; Mon. 1/11/16 10am.
I. Correspondence - none
J. Board Comments -
Dave Foley reminded all that he is looking for ideas for 2015 Newsletter and website updates.
Shari Spoelman thanked Sperry Claypool for his service to the Board and Claypool responded that it had a been a valuable learning experience for him. He was impressed with the time and knowledge it took to handle the responsibilities of being a Board member.
Shari also added that the MSU-extension was developing a program for those interested in better caring for their riparian property and there would be training conference for those interested in this topic.
Mike thanked Jennifer for her assistance in dealing with Lake Mitchell issues.
Meeting adjourned at 11:29