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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lake County Forming Water Quality Committee

The Lake County Commission is picking up the water quality baton that the Interlakes Water Quality Committee threw down in an apparent fit of pique following its electoral defeat in July. The commissioners will hold a special public meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 7 p.m., at the 4-H exhibit hall on South Egan Avenue to discuss water quality issues. The commission hopes to find folks from around the county—not just lake residents, but farmers and town folks, too—who would be interested in serving on a new official water quality committee. This new committee would be a formal branch of the county government, answering to the commission, charged with working on projects like those addressed previously by the IWQC, which was a volunteer group under the non-governmental Lake Madison Develoment Association. The advantage of this formal status: Lake County government could then serve as the grant-seeking and enforcement agency for water quality projects.

Credit where credit is due: MDL publisher Jon Hunter gave this idea daylight at the beginning of September. Steven Kant, a vocal opponent of the Lake Madison/Brant water project district vote, was quick to express his support last month for a countywide water project committee, as was I. A number of voters who opposed the water project district in July argued that water quality was better dealt with on a countywide level rather than relying strictly on the votes and tax dollars of residents along two lakeshores.

Lake County is now taking a logical leadership role, addressing an issue that rightly deserves countywide attention. Everyone in the county benefits from lakes that draw residents, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, not to mention the added property and sales taxes those lake lovers generate. Everyone in Lake County thus has a stake in protecting water quality throughout the county watershed.

If you're interested in seeing this new committee formed and maybe even serving on it, come the the meeting November 10!

p.s.: Hey, if the county's plan takes the pressure off the sanitary districts to take up water quality projects, maybe we can finally zero out the Lake Herman Sanitary District budget!

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