LETTER: Cart is before the horse on Lake Mitchell funding idea
"Maybe do something for the little guy who can't afford a $100,000 lot. Keep our designated public areas, because we use them," a letter writer says.
To the Editor:
Don't put the cart before the horse. The dredging project started at $15 million — now it's $25 million. Eric Lund, the Minnesota engineer hired to establish a plan to clean up the lake stated at a Mitchell City Council meeting "numerous studies claimed Firesteel Creek is one of the biggest contributors of the lakes algae problems." That's why the city has been focusing on Firesteel watershed improvements.
When councilman Steve Rice asked how much impact the 30 acres of wetland will have on phosphorus levels entering the lake, Lund couldn't come up with a clear answer. But he speculated, "It will get you something." Then Mayor Bob Everson — an engineer himself — joined the presentation explaining that quantifying a number is very difficult, and then he stated "things are looking good." No, they're not!
Previously, councilman John Doescher cited one study that said we'd need 1,000 acres of wetland to adequately address the phosphorus flowing into the lake. Lund also stated "until the Firesteel Creek input is significantly reduced, we’re going to have a problem," whether we 100% dredge or 100% alum treatment. Maybe that's why councilman Dan Allen stated he wouldn't vote for dredging until "way more" wetland projects are done up the creek.
Getting the Firesteel watershed off the impaired watershed list is something Allen emphasized needs to be a focus more than dredging. The city says we could sell eight lots of public access areas for maybe $1 million to help fund dredging, leaving the city to come up with $24 million. Then the city's share of property taxes from the lots, which is about 15%, for more funding. A drop in the bucket, but a good excuse to sell these lots. Maybe do something for the little guy who can't afford a $100,000 lot. Keep our designated public access areas, because we use them. For me, it's a quality of life issue.
The people that want to "do whatever they can to help clean up the lake" should put their money where their mouths are: write a personal check and do some fundraising for dredging.