I attended the annual meeting of the Rock Koshkonong Lake District. Two actions were taken. First, the proposed budget, which increased the tax levy, was rejected. Second, two longtime board members were replaced with newcomers pledging cooperation with the entire community. Both were appropriate. The proposed tax increase envisioned vague projects that were premature until repair of the dam. The existing board was confrontational and had little to show for its efforts. It was time for change.
The new board should consider improvements to its process. First, the district must be aware of and consider all views before taking action. The old board failed to create a public advisory group as recently suggested by the state Department of Natural Resources. This failure is inexcusable and can be easily remedied at no cost.
Second, the new board should post detailed minutes accessibly on its website, as well as digital recordings of its meetings. This is an inexpensive, easily implemented process that promotes transparency. Third, the district should schedule regular, detailed audits. Current efforts appear cursory and of little use to evaluate expenditures of revenues and performance.
Finally, no further efforts to increase lake levels should be undertaken until levels significantly decrease and the dam is functional. Instead, the district should collaborate in good faith with the DNR and property owners to determine if lake level increases have significantly damaged fragile wetland resources. Further litigation of this matter would be a waste of tax revenues and only enhance community discord.
ROLF OLSEN JR.