At another contentious meeting of the Little Hope Lake District board Saturday, Oct. 19, commissioners voted 2-1 to detach 130 parcels from the district.
There are now about 50 properties remaining in the district. Most of them are located either directly on what used to be the Little Hope Mill Pond or contiguous to the riparian property.
Dayton Supervisor Lee Schroeder, who voted against the resolutions to detach properties from the district and redraw its boundaries, complained that the vote was premature.
“I thought you were going to give me adequate time to go door-to-door,” Schroeder said. “I still have 30 houses to go to.”
At an Oct. 3 meeting, the resolution to detach non-riparian properties from the lake district had been tabled after Schroeder said the board needed to hear from more residents about whether they wanted to be in the lake district.
Schroeder questioned how the resolutions could be brought back for a vote at a special meeting after they had been tabled until the board contacted more residents.
“We have to move forward,” Town Chairman Chris Klein said.
Tom Miller, who lives in Parfreyville and opposes replacing the dam and forming the lake district, objected from the audience. He argued that the motion was illegal.
Klein told Miller he was out of order.
“I told you to have a deputy here to keep this from happening,” said Chuck Krueger, who lives on the former pond and supports the lake district.
Miller again objected when Klein said the board would have to defer approval of the minutes.
Miller noted that this was the third time the lake district board had met without providing minutes from any of the prior board meetings.
“For the second time, you’re not in order,” Klein said.
There was then debate about whether the special board meeting had been properly noticed.
Schroeder said the meeting required 14 days notice, while Klein said it required 24 hours notice.
Although Schroeder and several in the audience had copies of state laws relating to lake districts on hand, they were unable to find a statute requiring 14 days notice.
Others in the audience complained that Klein was not following Roberts Rules of Order. They argued that the resolution to redraw the boundaries had been tabled until after Schroeder finished interviewing Little Hope area property owners.
“Roberts Rules of Order are not required by state statute,” Klein responded.
At several times during the Oct. 19 meeting, dissenting voices in the audience drowned out the three supervisors. People could be heard saying, “Shut up!” and “Don’t tell me to shut up!”
Residents most affected remain in district
Roger Holman, director of the Waupaca County Parks and Recreation Department, which controls the dam, asked Klein what had changed to cause him to detach the non-riparian property owners from the lake district.
Klein said that removal of the dam most affects those who live on the pond. He said their property values are most impacted by the dam’s removal.
Rob Richardson, who owns riparian property, asked that those who remain in the lake district be allowed to proceed in their efforts to restore the dam and the pond.
“To those who have fought this and want out of the lake district, you win,” Richardson said. “We deserve the right to finally get this thing done.”
Richardson said he believes the dam can be replaced at little or no cost to those living within the Little Hope Lake District.
Klein said he believed state grants may be available to help reduce the costs of replacing the dam.
The site also offers the potential for a hydro-electric dam, which would cut costs for the lake district to restore the mill pond, Klein said.
Holman questioned Klein about why the Little Hope Lake District was not formed until after the county decided not to replace it.
Holman said the county may have made a different decision regarding the dam if the lake district had been in existence before the DNR ordered the drawdown of the pond.
“All we get is a battle,” Holman said. “All I get is you putting a knife in my back and putting knives in my committee’s back.”
After Klein made a motion to detach the non-riparian property owners from the lake district, Schroeder moved to table the motion. That motion died due to lack of a second.
“I want to move forward,” Supervisor Glen Newsome said. “I want to get rid of some of the stress.”
Shifting boundaries, cancelled meetings
This is the second time since it was first proposed last fall that boundaries for the Little Hope Lake District have been redrawn.
Initially, Dayton town Chairman Chris Klein presented a lake district with nearly 280 properties listed in it.
The boundaries as originally proposed extended beyond the Little Hope area to include the subdivisions on Waletta Drive in the northwest and Old Mill Run in the northeast, as well as the homes on Lake Solitude and the subdivision off East Road. It went as far west as Parfreyville United Methodist Church.
After a large crowd filled Dayton Town Hall during an Oct. 13, 2012, public hearing, the boundaries were redrawn. Klein removed about 100 parcels from the district.
The Dayton Town Board approved the revised boundaries at its October 2012 meeting and appointed itself as the district’s board of commissioners.
Under state law, a lake district must hold its first annual meeting of electors between May 22 and Sept. 8.
Annual meetings had been scheduled for Aug. 24 and Sept. 8. A third attempt to schedule an annual meeting for Oct. 26 also failed.
Each time, the legality of the meeting was questioned due to improper notice or failing to meet the deadline.
At a special lake district board meeting Monday, Oct. 21, a special meeting of the electors was set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. At that meeting, the remaining lake district property owners will vote on replacing the appointed three-member board of commissioners with a five-member board, three of whom they will elect.