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Carlinville council debates possibility of boats allowed on Carlinville lakes

Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

The Carlinville Council met for the first time of the new year. A previously scheduled meeting for Jan. 2 was canceled so the council will only meet once this month, but be back to its regular schedule in February.

Boats on Carlinville Lake

A lengthy discussion was held on the possibility of reopening Carlinville Lake to boats. Alderman Ken Reese brought the suggestion to the council after a previous discussion at the Lake Committee meeting.

Reese proposed that only man-powered boats, kayaks, rowboats, canoes, etc. be allowed on lakes 1 and 2. The lakes would be open during the same times that the Carlinville Campground was open so the lake manager would be on site.

Alderman Todd Koller said he spoke to Dan Held about the proposal and asked if non-motorized boats were allowed, would the boats “mess up the chemical feeds or anything.” Held reportedly told Koller that boats would not cause an issue with the chemical feeds.

Mayor Sarah Oswald, referred to the same conversation saying that Held answered, “No, but I don’t see that as a recommendation.” Oswald said that if the council asked Held, she did not feel like he would recommend putting boats on the lake. Held was not at the meeting to give his opinion on whether boats should be allowed back on the lake.

Alderman Kim Harber had many concerns about allowing boats on the lake, especially considering the lake is the City’s only water supply. Harber says he would like “to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about,” saying that he is open to allowing boats on the lake again but not without a recommendation or evidence that the water would not be disrupted by boats.

City Attorney Don Craven, chimed in to say the permit process would have to be established and the boaters would have to sign a release and be made aware there was no police presence and all boating activities would be at their own risk.

Reese, along with alderman Doug Downey presented the council with the rules of boating on the lake that are already established in the City code, including permits. The code would need updates to include man-powered boats, rather than motor-powered boats.

Several references were made to the original decision to close the lake, Downey was on the council at the time the lake was closed. He clarified that the council at the time never voted to shut the lake down saying, “It was an executive decision by Deanna Demuzio to shut down the lake.” Which the board agreed with at the time because of the issues with water, which Downey attributed to motorized boats being allowed. Oswald jumped in to say that Demuzio had a recommendation from the EPA to shut down the lake, she did not just decide to shut it down.

Reese said he brought the issue to the Lake Committee so all of these issues could be discussed with the committee before going to the council.

City Treasurer Jody Reichmann asked what the solution would be if somebody went onto the lake and was not following the rules. She also said that the council had agreed to reopen the lake before and agreed no motorized boats would be allowed, but motorized boats were put on the lake anyway costing, Reichmann stated, $40,000 to get the manganese levels down again.

The council decided to table the discussion for now.

Lake Materials

The council discussed purchasing materials and work that needs to be done at Lakes 1 and 2. Due to changes from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, new equipment and materials needs to be purchased an installed at the lake to counteract the growth of Bryozoan in the lakes. For new materials and the labor needed for electric that must be installed to run chemical pumps, the cost of the project would be around $38,500. Alderman Bill Link says the project was note budgeted but must be done due to IEPA regulations. The council approved the purchase not to exceed $38,500 for materials and labor costs.

Lake Annexation

A discussion about annexing Carlinville Lake was re-opened. The council previously voted to review what it would take to annex the Lake area into the city. After personnel changes the project was dropped and the council decided to review the project again. The council approved a $12,000 engineering cost from Meco engineering to determine what would need to be done to annex the area. The council voted for the measure, except for Downey who voted against.

Other business

The council approved a change to the Peddlers License fee. Licenses will now cost $250 a day per person or $500 a year per person.
Harber provided an update on the 2024-25 budget preparation.

A discussion about two properties that are in violation of ordinances was on the agenda but discussion was tabled until a later time.