Board Meeting minutes 5/19/21
Mid Lake Protection and Management District
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
7 p.m. CST
Virtual Zoom Meeting
Board of Commissioners
Present: Mike Timmons (Town of Woodruff). Bob Mott (Oneida County), Ed Bruner (Chairman), Scott Bullock (Secretary), Robert Grant, and Nick Iordachescu
Present but joined late: Andy Bullock (Treasurer),
Ed Bruner called the meeting to order at 7:12 p.m. CST
The agenda was reviewed by the quorum. Mike Timmons motioned to approve and seconded by Robert Grant. Vote: 6 Aye 0 Nay. (Andy Bullock unavailable) Motion passed. The meeting commenced accordingly.
The minutes from the early meeting on March 25, 2020 were reviewed. Robert Grant added that he is a member of several corporate boards and they all have bylaws. Bylaws are there to fill in any additional rules or management or clarify how the organization wants to be run in addition to the state laws. Bylaws should be supplemental to Chapter 33. Minutes were motioned by Ed Bruner and seconded by Robert Grant. Vote: 6 Aye 0 Navy. (Andy Bullock unavailable) Motion passed. The minutes were approved and to be posted on Mid Lake District website.
Date(s) of future meetings
The next meeting will be the annual meeting held at Woodruff Town Hall on July 3, 2021.
Andy Bullock shared the complete financial report dating back to 2015. Last District (2020) meeting the mill rate was set at .5. Harvesting cost were less than expected. Nick Iordachescu asked about a missing check from the county. Andy Bullock has been trying to set up mobile deposit for the account. Currently checks are forwarded to Scott Bullock who then sends it to Andy Bullock. Andy sends the check to the bank for deposit. Missing check was located and is being deposited.
Attempting to set 2022 mill rate without knowing the 2021 expenses. Andy Bullock is projecting that we are going to lose approximately $10K. Andy recommends that we wait a full year of data before attempting to adjust the mill rate again. Between this year and last year we are projected to use $20K of the District surplus. Total assets of the district are $175K ($60K checking, and $114,848 CD)
Robert asked is Onterra will be at a higher cost this year because of the Lake Report. Ed Bruner replied that they were given notice of the prices but waiting for the Lake Management Plan to be approved. Onterra was going to continue with the Lake Intercept surveys. Nick Iordachescu mentioned that the current grant expires on June 1st and mentioned that we need to work to get a new grant. Nick explained we need to know what Onterra is going to charge us for the next five years so the District knows what is needed for the grant. Robert Grant volunteered to contact Eddie Heath to ask about the new grant.
Mike Timmons discussed that the owner of the business that hosts the website has passed away. The district may need to move to another web hosting site. This may present an unknown cost that has not been budgeted.
Andy Bullock asked about three charges in September that were labeled as “other”. Ed Bruner stated that those were part of the Clean Water, Clean Boats grant and those charges were paid out to workers. There is a grant reimbursement for 75% of those costs. Clean Water, Clean Boats will apply this year as well. These costs are separate from Onterra costs.
Bob Mott asked if the $175K was earmarked for anything and did Onterra do a spring survey? Robert Grant said the money was raised to chemically treat the lake if it was required. The district was told that we needed to have the financial commitment for at least three years and potentially five years. When the invasive species was rising to a percentage similar to Minocqua and Tomahawk when they began to chemically treat their lakes. The mill rate was adjusted to raise the funds. After several years the invasive species has dropped significantly. Treating the lake chemically is a last resort.
Andy Bullock added that the District was able to get a much better deal when purchasing the weed harvester. The old harvester was sold for $60K which was much higher than what was expected and this added to our cash surplus. Ed Bruner mentioned that the reason for the reduction in weeds in Mid Lake is unknown. Currently the DNR and Onterra are both looking into this. There are other lakes in the area with similar problems.
Bob Mott wants to make sure that the budget is clearly conveyed to the membership during the annual meeting in order for the electors to vote on a mill rate.
Scott Bullock motioned that the board keeps the recommend mill rate of .5 to present at the annual meeting and seconded by Mike Timmons. Vote: 7 Aye 0 Nay. Motion passed.
How to stagger commissioner elections IAW Chapter 33
Nothing new to discuss. Board is in agreement with previous plan.
Discuss wake surfing boat usage and possible signage at lake entrance
Mike Timmons mentioned that this has been taken care of by Woodruff Police because of new local ordinance. The signs will be installed at the entrance of Mid Lake. Ed Bruner mentioned that the Foster family owns the property at the entrance to Mid Lake and they actually own the swap land that is directly across the channel where the current Mid Lake sign is located. They are opposed to the wake surfing sign being placed with the Mid Lake sign. The sign will be placed on state land further into Mid Lake, but still at the entrance to Mid Lake. Mike Timmons informed everyone that the Police Chief will take care of the placement of the sign.
Scott Bullock reviewed the Ordinance specifies that wake enhancement watercraft by the use of ballast, mechanical, hydrofoils cannot operate within 700’ from any shoreline, dock, pier, raft. Mike Timmons explained that complaints will be directed to the Joint Woodruff/Minocqua boat patrols. Ultimate responsibility goes to DNR. Robert Grant added that these boats cause a tremendous amount of damage shallow lakes.
Draft bylaw revisions review
Mike Timmons wanted to add the virtual meetings are allowed. Nick Iordachescu added that wording should be changed to Chapter 33 and strike the non-profit. Ed Bruner asked if a legal review is necessary. Scott Bullock believes that a legal review protects the District. Nick Iordachescu wondered why bylaws are necessary. Andy Bullock stated that they are used to clarify state regulations and add in specific information that is not in Chapter 33. Robert Grant added that we are clearly allowing membership with back lots and key hole access that are unique to Mid Lake and not addressed in Chapter 33. Mike Timmons stated Chapter 33 does not address one vote per parcel and are needed in bylaws. Ed Bruner added that bylaws cannot go against Chapter 33. Bob Mott thinks that who can vote should be included in the bylaws. Ed Bruner suggested a change for Article IV section 2 so it aligns with Chapter 33. Robert Grant suggested an addition to Article XII about in the case of dissolution the assets of the District will be redistributed back to the residents. Scott Bullock said he would incorporate the changes.
Ed Bruner stated that property held in joint ownership each person gets a right to vote because the property doesn’t vote, the people vote. Ed went on to say that legal property owners of husband and wife who are on record with the register of deeds should each get a right to vote. Mike Timmons believes that the District has the right to say that only each property has the right to vote. Scott Bullock added that the supporting documentation Ed Bruner sent out was based on opinion and that we pick what we want as a Board and then have a legal review to back us up. Ed Bruner said that other lakes have gone away from this and we should change because we are preventing someone the right to vote. Mike Timmons disagreed with this sentiment and there should only be one vote per tax parcel.
Robert Grant added that multiple properties are held in trust and they have multiple trustees. Do all the trustees get to vote? Mike Timmons added that it should be one vote per tax roll. Ed Bruner wanted that to be backed up by State Statute. Mike Timmons again stated that this decision in the bylaws would be supported by an attorney. He suggested if there were a property on the lake with seven owners would each owner get a vote? Robert Grant agreed with Mike Timmons because he feels that Ed Bruner’s idea complicates matters. If every property were held by a husband and wife it would work, but properties are held in different ways. Corporations hold properties, multiple properties are held by trusts and each trust has multiple trustees. It is not very clear how to implement the suggestion by Ed Bruner.
Andy Bullock stated that there were multiple legal interpretations in the supporting documentation that Ed Bruner sent the board. Andy feels a legal review is not necessary because there is not a legal consensus. Andy wants to propose to the District our version of the bylaws and let the district vote how they want. Ed Bruner presented the Squash Lake voter certification document. Mike Timmons asked if a renter would be able to vote and the owner of the property would be able to vote essentially allowing two votes per property. Andy Bullock is uncomfortable with the concept that you need to fill out a form to vote. He stated no one is given a ballot unless their name is on the tax roll. Signing a pledge you are not voting illegally is redundant.
Scott Bullock stated that we have voted the same way for years. What is wrong with the simple method that we have used. Bob Mott explained that it appears that the one property one vote is not right. Scott Bullock stated that the supporting documentation that Ed Bruner sent out is not concrete and that by changing the rules for voting becomes a Pandora’s box trying to decide who does and doesn’t get to vote. Ed Bruner feels that a husband and wife have the right to vote. Robert Grant asked if the property is held in a trust would the husband and wife both get a vote? Ed Bruner said he felt if they were both listed as owners of the trust they would still each get a vote. Robert then mentioned that some trusts overtly name people, some you would need the trust documents to see who actually owned the trust. Robert continued that there are dozens of properties on the lake in trusts, some are anonymous and some are named trusts so how are we ever going to reconcile in the meeting who gets to vote. Scott Bullock stated that the same paragraph from Ch. 33 that says if you are on the tax roll is the same paragraph that mentions if you are the official representative you are authorized to vote on behalf of trust. How can you do one without the other? It would be impossible to know who should and should not vote. Scott continued that he felt the way we are doing it is fine. Andy Bullock feels the way forward is to present two options to the district, but Robert Grant feels that we cannot propose a course of action that can’t be managed.
Ed Bruner feels that the Squash Lake voter certification works because it clearly states their name is on the tax roll. It also says that one is a legal representative that is authorized to vote. Andy Bullock countered that he could show up to the Squash Lake annual meeting and say that he is the legal representative of a trust on the lake and vote. Unless Squash Lake has the trust documents for every trust on the lake they would have no access to that information. It could be one parcel and seven people could own the trust and each person entitled to a vote.
Without a consensus it is suggested by Ed Bruner that this has a legal review. Mike Timmons suggested that the District vote if they want a legal review. Robert Grant logged into the Oneida tax system and noted that 8 of 11 properties next to him are held in trust. Each one will have complications on who will have the right to vote. Andy Bullock feels it should be one parcel one vote but should be put to the district.
New Business / Public Comment
Ed Bruner said that he spoke with Mary McCann and there were only seven people interested in a picnic. It did not appear there would be enough interest to hold a picnic in 2021.
Bob Mott brought up the process for an agenda. Ultimately it was decided that the Chairmen will set the agenda and each Commissioner will send their inputs to the Chairmen two weeks in advance. Then the Commissioner will forward the agenda to the Secretary to prepare for posting.
It was agreed that there is no reason to hold another meeting prior to the annual meeting.
At 9:32 p.m. (CST) agenda was completed Bob Mott motioned to adjourn meeting which was seconded by Robert Grant. No one opposed and meeting was adjourned.
Minutes recorded by Scott Bullock, Secretary.
These minutes were reviewed and approved at the Board Meeting on June 1, 2021 via Zoom at 7:30 p.m.