Oppose IN-HB 1279 Regarding Conservancy Districts, Affecting Proposed at Geist Reservoir

Oppose IN-HB 1279 Regarding Conservancy Districts, Affecting Proposed at Geist Reservoir

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Geist and Indianapolis Residents started this petition to State Senator - Indiana Senate District 31 Jim Merritt and




DO NOT DONATE MONEY!!!! SIGNATURES ONLY!!!!!


THIS AFFECTS YOU IF: 

(1) You own a home on Geist Reservoir or within any neighborhood or subdivision that has any homes with waterfront property or access to Geist Reservoir
(2) You own or work for a business on or in direct proximity to Geist Reservoir
(3) You enjoy public access use of Geist Reservoir
(4) You are part of the greater Indianapolis community, which receives 16% of its water supply comes from Geist Reservoir


GEIST RESIDENTS: OUR/YOUR VERY OWN (PRIVATE CITIZEN) NEIGHBORS WILL BE GRANTED AUTHORITY BY THE STATE OF INDIANA TO LEVY ANNUAL PROPERTY TAXES AND FEES AGAINST BOTH YOUR HOME WITHIN THE CONSERVANCY DISTRICT AND/OR ANY WATERCRAFT YOU ENJOY ON GEIST RESERVOIR, AND SOME MEMBERS WILL LIKELY RECEIVE COMPENSATION FROM THE PROCEEDS! 

It also gives the Conservancy District the right to execute EMINENT DOMAIN over property within and adjacent to the District! 



Who wants their own neighbors to have taxing authority over them?



THESE FEES ARE SCHEDULED TO TAKE EFFECT ON JULY 1, 2019 IF THIS MEASURE PASSES!


Geist Lake Coalition is a locally-operated 501(c)3 organization that functions in some ways similar to an HOA. Per recent submission to the state, Geist Lake Coalition and its underlying operator(s) have proposed formation of a Conservancy District. This Conservancy District would be granted from the government the power to levy taxes and fees against homeowners within the proposed district as well as all watercraft owners who use the reservoir.

***The Conservancy District would have the authority to charge a fee to ANY HOMEOWNER in any "neighborhood that contains a Geist waterfront or water-access home or property." Current proposal calls for a progressive fee scale based on home value. 
--Assumed Market Value up to $350,000: $130 annually
--Assumed Market Value up to $700,000: $282 annually
--Assumed Market Value up to $1 million: $412 annually

***Watercraft annual permit fees are noted to start at $250 per watercraft, per year for owners not residing in the conservancy district, with a 50% discount applied to each watercraft permit for those residing in the conservancy district. 

And fees to homeowners within the proposed Conservancy District and all watercraft owners who enjoy Geist Reservoir alike are SUBJECT TO ANNUAL INCREASE, with certain limitations based on set annual caps and property value increases. 

In its flyer, $2 million in projected/target revenue is listed: 
----$200,000 in government-provided grant money
----$900,000 in property taxes paid by all homeowners in the Conservancy District (any homeowner whose residence is anywhere in a neighborhood that has waterfront property)
----$900,000 in "lake permit" fees charged annually in the form of a sticker mandatory on an watercraft before it may be used on Geist Reservoir. 

*****Projected expenses include $125,000 in "Management/Admin" costs.





PURPOSES OF THIS PETITION: 

----TO OPPOSE FORMATION OF A CONSERVANCY DISTRICT WITH SCOPE OF AUTHORITY AS LISTED IN HB 1279, WHICH INCLUDES VARIOUS CHANGES TO CONSERVANCY DISTRICTS, IN THE GEIST RESERVOIR AREA. (We are not against *all* conservancy districts — we oppose one with this scope of authority.) 

----To oppose Geist Lake Coalition and/or its members and/or participants and/or Conservancy District board members from establishing "lake permit" fees aimed at (1) directing subsequent revenue at increasing amounts of broadcast herbicides used in Geist Reservoir (16% of greater Indianapolis area water supply), and (2) implementing costly measures that further hinder public access to lake and area residents who support local businesses on and in direct proximity to Geist Reservoir. 

----To oppose increased expenses already cited by Indiana's Department of Natural Resources as a challenge in resource and effort allocation towards Geist Reservoir. 

 

Lake residents, area residents, and others who love and use Geist Reservoir and DO NOT agree with Geist Lake Coalition DO NOT want to be forced to pay for an agenda they oppose simply because financial support from those that do agree has thus far been insufficient to meet the Coalition's annual objectives. We are not in agreement with IN HB 1279 furthering the reach of conservancy districts, and do not believe a conservancy district under HB 1279 guidelines is in the best interest for Geist reservoir and surrounding area residents. 


*****Note***** Do date, no analysis of potential economic impact faced by businesses on or directly adjacent to Geist Reservoir has been completed, unless done so without public availability for scrutiny. 

 


Additional Information of Importance:

As you may have seen, Geist Reservoir recently made the evening broadcasts of some local news stations in the greater Indianapolis area due to substantially higher-than-normal fish mortality. While Spring often brings noticeable die-off in small baitfish populations due to temperature fluctuation, this fish kill is particularly concerning as it is primarily comprised of gamefish and panfish such as bass and sunfish, yellow bass, and catfish that are far less fragile. More importantly, given the sores and growths seen on a large number of live fish, it certainly appears these fish are not dying as a result of fluctuating water temperatures. Although the cause is unclear at this point, our Indiana DNR has visited the lake and not found anything out of the ordinary. Regardless of the cause of apparent "fish kill" this year, many area residents are concerned about the water quality of the Reservoir. $450,000 in proposed Conservancy District funds is earmarked for not only flushing of invasive zebra mussels, but also increased broadcast herbicide use in the Reservoir. Many area residents oppose increased chemicals, as Geist supplies roughly 16% of greater Indianapolis area water. 

Geist has long been the subject of water quality debate, and many residents of the surrounding area are quick to comment on its lack of desirability from a swimming and leisure perspective. To a large degree, the use of chemicals mentioned above is absolutely necessary to ensure the overall health of the ecosystem. Those chemicals used to stave off algae blooms benefit not only the ecosystem itself, but those who enjoy it for all recreational purposes. And chemicals used to mitigate the overpopulation of invasive aquatic vegetation such as Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) are often necessary as well, albeit to a lesser extent. Furthermore, homeowners certainly must be able to maintain and enjoy the water around their piers. However, they still provide reasonable area for concern from residents. Large-scale eradication of vegetation can come at a cost to water quality. Aquatic vegetation that is targeted for removal decays, causing a decline in oxygen content and subsequent buildup of what many refer to as “pond scum” – unpleasant, mucky sediment on the lake’s floor and large green plumes that are detrimental to the ecosystem and no fun to swim through. In recent years, Geist Lake Coalition, while it may not have met its financing and spraying targets set forth at the beginning of each year, has been successful in staving off algae blooms as well as eradicating sufficient aquatic vegetation that homeowners have not felt the need to increase donation to meet funding goals for increased vegetation spraying. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!