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The Facts Behind the Anonymous Flyer

Many of you have received this flyer in your mailbox on Saturday, October 15th encouraging you to contact Judge Hall and say “NO” to the proposed Koontz Lake Conservancy District. It lists many reasons to say “NO” – unfortunately, almost all of this “information” is completely untrue. Here is what it says – and here are the facts:

Anonymous Flyer


Fact: Algae is the result many complex factors, including years of runoff from farmlands – as well as the golf course and septic tanks until they were replaced by a sewer system. A comprehensive program of lake management is required to keep this algae from making our lake unusable as it did over the Labor Day Weekend in 2015.

Flyer: Ditch cleaning: This is already controlled by the county – you already pay a ditch tax!

Fact: Ditch cleaning is in fact controlled by the Three County Drainage Board for Starke, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties. However, what we require from them is cleaning of the sediment traps built on Pontius Ditch in 1990 to prevent sediment from entering Koontz Lake. They have agreed to cover the cost of this activity in their current budget, so no additional funds are being sought for that. However, we will need to pay for the construction of additional sediment traps on Schroeder Ditch to prevent sediment from filling in the east basin and providing more nutrients to feed weeds and algae. A small amount of money is being budgeted to pay for that effort when the time comes.

Flyer: Boat Landings: This is controlled by the DNR and will not be up to the Koontz Lake Conservancy District to Change.

Fact: The KLCD has no plans or proposed budget to do anything at all with boat landings.

Flyer: Control Weeds: DNR controls this and Koontz Lake Association already take care of this (Paid for with your yearly membership).

Fact: The DNR has indeed paid for 80% of the Koontz Lake Aquatic Control Committee (KLACC) efforts at weed control over the last few years via discretionary grants. The Koontz Lake Association has been paying the other 20% through additional donations from members, not your dues. The key word here is “discretionary”: just this past week the DNR has decided to reduce their grant for 2016 from a maximum of $20,000 to a maximum of $5,000 and our match will increase from 20% to 50%. This means that we will have a lot less money available to us for next year, and more of it will be coming out of our pockets. This inability to rely on consistent funding for lake management from our governing authorities is precisely the reason we began the effort to establish the conservancy district: to ensure that money will always be available when we need it to keep the lake clean and suitable for boating, swimming and fishing. So any money currently spent via your donations will no longer be required once the KLCD is funded.

Flyer: All property tax will increase approximately 12%…which means it will keep going up every year.

Fact: The conservancy tax, included on your real estate tax bill, will be between .074 and .165% of the assessed value of your property depending on the techniques we use for lake management. For example, if your home is worth $100,000, your additional tax will be between $74 and $165 per year. There is NO built-in yearly increase. The District Board would have to apply for an increase and get it approved by the Starke County Circuit Court as well as other state agencies.

Flyer: The “District” needs 260 property owners to get a judge to approve the District to be formed.

Fact: Our Steering Team will submit a petition to the Starke County Circuit Court requesting that it establish the Koontz Lake Conservancy District. That petition needs 274 signatures from the 914 property owners in the area to meet the legal minimum (30%) required for that initial court appearance. As of October 14th, we have 327.

Flyer: They do not have the numbers from the lake front property owners so they will go to all members of the Koontz Lake Sewer District.

Fact: The original petition was for a conservancy district that only included lakefront properties. We had enough signatures to proceed but decided to expand it to the entire sewer district because:

  • Many “lakefront” property owners don’t actually own their lakefronts and the off lake residents that have piers in front of those homes or otherwise use the lakefront would be getting a “free ride”.
  • We received significant feedback from off-lake residents who WANTED to participate. In fact 38% of the signatures we have gotten so far are from off-lake residents.

Flyer: The fees to dredge the lake, which are part of the plan, are already in the MILLIONS so plan on a huge increase to cover just this requirement.

Fact: We have just commissioned a complete lake survey by specialists who will recommend the best techniques to use in order to get the best results for Koontz Lake. We will share this report with you as soon as we receive it in early 2017. No decisions have been made regarding which techniques to use, including a large scale dredge. The tax rate detailed above will provide sufficient revenue for whatever techniques we pursue.

Flyer: …this whole plan will only benefit lake front property owners.

Fact: The plan will benefit everyone in the neighborhood – not just lakefront property owners. If the lake becomes unusable (as it was Labor Day of 2015), studies have shown that surrounding property values can drop by as much as 20%. And that is NOT just lakefront properties – that’s everyone in the community. So for example, if your home is currently worth $100,000 and the lake dies, it would be worth $80,000. That $20,000 would have paid for the proposed tax increase for over 100 years.

If you have any additional questions, comments or would simply like to meet with someone from the KLCD Steering Team, please call Marty Wolf at (574) 586-5012 or email us at KoontzLakeConservancy@gmail.com

Thank you for your interest.

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