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Town hall meeting turns into lake forum

News editor

If a tree falls in a lake and no commissioner is there to see it, is it really there?

Marion County Lake property owners made certain Saturday that County Commissioner Dan Holub knew about fallen trees they believe detract from the lake’s appearance, as well as other maintenance issues.

Holub held a town hall meeting at Marion County Lake Hall open to all county residents, but the nine people who showed up were all residents or property owners at the lake.

“I’ll bet if you count those trees you’ll come up with about 50,” Delmar Iseli said. “You start going into the coves and you’ll see there are more trees down than you can imagine.”

“I think we pay enough taxes around the lake here the county should take a little better care of it,” J.B. Miesse said. “It’s a beautiful lake, and we’d like to keep it that way.”

Iseli said he had volunteered to trim a large fallen branch near his property, but was told by Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson he couldn’t because it was lake property.

“Perhaps there could be more openness and acceptance to volunteer work,” Sue Peterson said. “We haven’t had it encouraged, have we? We’ve had it discouraged. That volunteer spirit is here, it’s been here. Let’s use some of that to clean up the lake.”

Holub said there are liability concerns to consider, but that a compromise was possible by using county crews to do the major work.

“We probably need a focused effort, and then we can piecemeal the leftovers,” Holub said.

“I don’t want it to be perceived in any way that the concerns that we have mean that we’re unhappy with Steve,” Peterson said. “I just think there needs to be a better level of communication.”

When the discussion turned to a specific section of unmaintained lots on Rock Rd., residents fired off item upon item they were displeased with. Ed Barnett gave the most thorough list of issues.

“I’ve had property out here since 1993, and to my knowledge it has only been mowed once,” Ed Barnett said. “There are three travel trailers with holes in them, the doors are open. There’s an old panel truck in there. It looks like there’s an old pontoon boat sitting on barrels. Are those barrels empty, or could there be something in them that’s hazardous?”

Holub asked if the property harbored rodents, and when the group answered affirmatively, he said that was sufficient to file a formal complaint to start the process of getting the property cleaned up.

When Holub asked how people felt about the county appraiser’s office, the group gave a collective laugh. Several had anecdotes dealing with what they felt were excessive valuations on their properties.

“You’re in a different world out here,” Holub said, citing high prices paid for vacant lots and new construction.

“The first time somebody buys one of those derelict lots and pays an ungodly price for them because they’re going to put a new house there, that’s not going to help you,” Holub said. “That jacks up the market value for the entire lake.”

Last modified April 16, 2015

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