Lakefront property owners continue drive to create Silver Lake Management District

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A group of lakefront property owners on Silver Lake continued their effort to create a lake management district there with a public information meeting at the Silver Lake Sportsmen’s Club last weekend.

From the oral presentations at the meeting as well as displays it appeared the group has tried to anticipate most every question and provide an answer.

The proposed Silver Lake Management District will include 178 properties, all of which are adjacent to the lake. No other properties would be able to be taxed by the proposed district. The proposed district does not include publicly owned lands on the lake – Silver Lake County Park, the Salem Lakes Village beach and boat launch and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launching ramp and natural area.

The main purpose of forming the district will be to control Eurasian milfoil growth through chemical treatments. A 2020 survey showed 45 percent of the lake to be infested.

Milfoil treatments in recent years have been funded by the Silver Lake Protection Association through fundraising and grants, but that is not feasible long-term, said John Coffey, SLPA president and a leader of the effort to create the new lake district, which will be able to tax the properties within the district.

“A lake district is the only long-term solution,” Coffey said.

So what is the most common question the group hears? Will I be taxed, said Coffey.

The only properties in the district will be parcels that touch the lake, Coffey and others stress.

‘If you are not a lakefront property owner, you will not be included in the district and have to pay taxes” to the district, Coffey said Saturday.

Said Jim Purinton, another leader of the effort to form the lake district, “Lakefront property owners clearly have the most to benefit if the district is created and the most to lose if it is not.”

Another concern the group hears from time to time is the district will seek to expand its boundaries in the future. Dave Zyer, a SLPA vice president, explained expansion is possible, but difficult and very rare among the 200-some lake districts in Wisconsin.

“The experts conclude that lake districts have rarely if ever expanded,” Zyer said.

Next steps for the effort are to collect signatures for a petition to be submitted to the county. Organizers hope to better the about 75 percent of lakefront property owners that signed a petition late last year. The group will host a petition signing event on June 26 at a Silver Lake business, but will be working to get signatures before then as well.

If the group can get the process rolling with the county this summer, it may get formation next year and be receiving tax revenue by 2023.

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