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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lake Voters Reject Water Project District 102-228

The Madville Times mobile unit malfunctioned about a half mile east of James River Equipment, so alas, no vid/pix from the parking lot polling tent. But the vote on the proposed Interlakes Water Project District is in: voters at Lake Madison and Brant Lake have said no. Final vote count:
  • For: 102 (31%)
  • Against: 228 (69%)
That's 330 votes out of 709 eligible voters, just about 47% turnout. Not bad for a glorious summer day when folks could be fishing instead.

District proponent Robert Todd heard an assortment of reasons expressed against the district:
  • opposition to more taxes (the economy is tight)
  • exclusion of non-resident landowners from voting (well, that is the law)
  • big campaign spending (apparently Russ Olson is the only big spender who can win in Lake County)
  • belief that cleaning up the lakes is an "impossible task" (hey, that's never stopped me from trying!)
District opponent Steven Kant should be relieved... but actually, he says the vote doesn't feel like a victory. I can understand his mixed emotions. The district supporters never quite sold me on the idea of a water project district, but I've always been a supporter of their water quality goals. I hope this landslide (are we allowed in this case to say waterslide?) defeat of the water project district signals only a rejection of creating a new layer of government and taxes and not a rejection of the principles of taking care of the watershed that makes Lake County such an attractive place to live and play. I hope a number of those folks who voted no are still willing to contribute their time and money to promote other water quality projects, like the recommendations listed by Steve Kant himself.

Whether or not the district passed, the Interlakes Water Quality Committee planned to continue its efforts on a volunteer basis. And there are still algae, silt, and carp in our lakes. The IWQC will talk about what to do next about those water quality problems at its next meeting, Thursday, August 6, 7 p.m. at the Madison Public Library.

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