by Shawn Hepinstall, Dredge Committee Chairman
It has always been amazing to me the amount of passion and care our members have for the stewardship of our lake. We have been members of the Lake Viking community for 20 years. The lake, the people, and our community are truly special. Along the way there have been a lot of challenges and our members always make the right decision for the health of our lake.
Silt and dredging have been a fact of life from day one at Lake Viking. Upon the completion of the lake in 1969, discussions of silt and dredging began showing up in the board minutes.
In October of 1975, just five short years later, the first “mud cat” dredge was purchased for $59,000. In April of 1976 the members voted to approve the first dredge assessment, $10 per lot owner. Over the years we have done a lot to capture and slow the silt from coming into the lake, including engineer studies with recommendations. Retention ponds, rock weirs and stream bank stabilization have all been implemented. Lake Viking was designed with a 9,203 acre water shed (14.3 sq. miles) that captures rain water through six main feeder creeks. Four of the main creeks are in the south end. As with any manmade lake in an agricultural area, silt comes in with the water.
Once again, our community is faced with a major decision on how to fund our dredging efforts and finance the construction of a new basin to hold the silt on the south end of the lake. Each dredging on the south end typically removes 80,000-100,000 cubic yards of silt. This is done every 4-5 years.
During the annual meeting last year, the dredge committee presented an overview of this project, preliminary cost estimates between $500,000 to $700,000, and possible options to fund this major capital expense. During this year we have explored and gathered information on these options so our members can make an informed decision.
- We created a Request For Proposal (RFP) which was sent to engineering companies for plans to build the silt retention basin. Preserving and protecting our lake is always one of our top priorities. Expanding or building a retention basis that could potentially hold 250,000-300,000 cubic yards of silt requires a professional plan from engineers with previous experience. We challenged them to develop a basin that will not only hold the silt but develop one we can maintain, clean out and use for many years into the future. We cannot afford to have a breech in the walls or build something that has a limited life span.
- Funding – options presented at the Annual Meeting
- 5 Year Deferred Maintenance Plan We currently have $67,000 accrued and are on target to commit an additional 50,000 to this fund YE. Projected total $117,000.
- New Dredge Assessment The current lake fund assessment is $30 per member.
To raise enough capital via assessments it would require a substantial increase.
- 1,100 members x $100 = $110,000
- 1,100 members x $250 = $275,000
- 1,100 members x $450 = $495,000
- Loan or Financing – Apply for a long term capital loan making monthly payments.
- Sell some Lake Viking Community Areas – We own 23 Community Areas. They are all important assets owned by our community. Twelve of them are used extensively by our members and are important amenities. Eleven of the Community Areas are dormant and get very limited, if any use by our members. The proposal presented for membership consideration would offer 4-5 of these Community Areas for sale to generate needed funds. They are buildable lots and not part of the feeder creek system that replenishes the lake. Selling a few of these Community Areas rather than harboring this unused asset can benefit everyone. I encourage all members to look at the lake map and visit the actual Community Area sites. This is a viable option for our members to consider.
- A Combination of the above – Any combination of the options listed above could be approved by members.
A town hall meeting is being scheduled for Feb. 1, 2020, to discuss our options and inform our members. The decisions on how we move forward and what options we choose will affect the lake for years to come. The stewardship and health of our lake is something we are all concerned with and take pride in as Lake Viking members. Please watch for future announcements on this meeting in February.