The Little Hope Lake District board approved a 2014 budget Monday, March 31.
Because the lake district did not have an annual meeting in 2013, the board does not have the authority to levy taxes.
The district’s taxing authority will be set at its first annual meeting, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 31.
However, the board voted March 31 for a $2,000 budget with all revenues coming from donations.
Of the total 2014 budget, $1,800 is committed to anticipated legal expenses, while $200 is for general board expenses, such as mailings and notices.
Chuck Krueger questioned the legality of the board setting a budget without an annual meeting.
“What section of the law are you quoting?” Krueger asked Town Chairman Chris Klein.
Krueger is a riparian property owner in Little Hope and a litigant against Waupaca County over the dam’s removal.
Paging through a binder with the state statutes on lake districts, Krueger said the statutes indicated that boards may propose budgets, but annual meetings must approve them.
“It does not say anything about the board approving the budget,” Krueger said.
“Because the annual meeting did not set a budget, it’s the board’s responsibility,” Klein said.
“You know I want to see this happen, but I want to see it done correctly,” Krueger responded.
In an email to Krueger, board members and the County Post sent after the meeting, Klein said state law gives the board of commissioners of a lake district established by a town control over fiscal matters.
“Operating with a budget is implicit in the control over the fiscal matters of the district,” Klein said.
Other Little Hope residents asked Klein why he could not wait until the annual meeting in May.
Klein said the lake district needs legal representation if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources decides to hold a public hearing regarding the dam’s removal.
The board unanimously approved the 2014 budget, but with the condition that revenues would only come from donations.
In other business, the lake district board voted to oppose Waupaca County’s petition to remove the dam and request a DNR public hearing.
Supervisor Jim Peglow, who at a March 18 town board meeting voted against a resolution opposing the dam’s removal, voted in favor of a similar resolution at the lake district board meeting.
“I agree that this is the appropriate resolution for the lake district,” Peglow said.