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Beaver Dam Lake district about 100 signatures away

November 18, 2018

Boaters enjoy Beaver Dam Lake at sunset. The Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association is working to gather signatures to form a lake district, which would be able to collect revenue to fund localized projects.

About 100 signatures separate the residents of Beaver Dam Lake from a new lake district.

Organizers with the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association are working to gather the petition signatures needed to form a lake district, a new form of government that would have the ability to raise revenue from properties along the 42 miles of shore. The district would have a board of commissioners. Residents and owners would have a vote in an annual meeting to determine the financial impact of the district.

“It’s been a tough road to reach all the people on the lake,” BDLIA President Bill Boettge. The association is a nonprofit and is more limited in the ways it can raise money and the projects it can pursue than a district would be.

To be successful, organizers need signatures from 51 percent of properties along the lake, or roughly 720. They are at roughly 620.

Those working toward the district held an open house this week, where about 50 people showed up and about 10 new signatures made the list.

“People have been asking a lot of questions as to just what it’s about, how much it’s going to cost, why do we have to have it, why isn’t the person across the street paying as much as I am, why isn’t the state paying for this, why isn’t the county paying for it, why aren’t the townships paying for it, why isn’t the city paying for it, why do I as a property owner have to shove out some more money because my taxes are too high already?” Boettge said. “That’s a synopsis of what we’ve been hearing for five months.”

He said it’s not been an easy task, but organizers have been picking up signatures little by little and will continue to work at it, with the goal of being done early next year. The signatures are good for years.

Owners and residents who remain opposed to forming a lake district are concerned about the impact a district would have on their taxes and more generally the concept of adding a new layer of government over their lives.

Bill Foley of the association said that a position with the Department of Natural Resources that used to help oversee the water quality of Beaver Dam Lake no longer exists. He said that the lake is struggling with habitat loss and nutrient runoff, making the projects a district could take on even more necessary.

He said it would be easier to obtain grants and collaborate with state government as a more stable unit.

The Beaver Dam Common Council has already signed off on the idea. If the association gathers the signatures, it would go to the Dodge County Board of Supervisors for approval.

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