Orono Council approves establishment of Carman Bay Lake Improvement District

By Adam Quandt
[email protected]

On July 24, the Orono Police Department officially gained three new police officers during the regular council meeting of the Orono City Council.

Over the past year, officers Kyle Kirschner, William Carstens and Brian Beniek have completed the department’s field training program and a one-year probationary period with the department.

Upon hire, Kirschner was brought on as a full-time officer and Carstens and Beniek were hired as part-time officers. However, Carstens has been promoted to a full-time officer, due to a position becoming available. Beniek will continue to work as a part-time officer and will fill in shifts as needed by the department.

Following the formal swearing in of both new officers, Mayor Dennis Walsh extended his personal welcome and congratulations to the new additions to the Orono Police Department.

During the meeting, the City Council also held a public hearing for the Carman Bay Lake Improvement District. The hearing was set following a presentation by an Orono resident, whom resides on Carman Bay, during the Nov. 14, 2016 City Council meeting and Council recommendation during their meeting on June 12, 2017.

The petition for the establishment of the Carman Bay Lake Improvement District has been signed by 82 of the 113 property owners on Carman Bay and all signatures have been certified have been certified by Interim City Administrator, Doug Reeder.

“This has been a long a process,” Carman Bay resident Steve Nielsen said while presenting information to the Council.

The main focus of the Lake Improvement District will be to cut down and keep aquatic invasive species, such as Eurasian Milfoil out of Carman Bay, using funds gained through a tax levy for residents who live on Carman Bay and any additional grants that may be received.

The estimated annual cost of the improvement actions in the bay is $20,000 to $30,000.
Nielsen was joined at the Council meeting by two other members of the current Lake Improvement District, which is all volunteer based at this time.

By establishing the district, the City of Orono will not have any additional costs other than the publication costs of the process. However, the city can offer to contribute to bay improvement costs if it chooses to do so.

The proposed boundaries for the Carman Bay LID has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to certify that all of the proposed information for the Carman Bay LID meets the requirements of LID statutes and rules, as enforced by the DNR.

Despite the majority support of residents, not all residents are in support of the currently proposed plan for the Carman Bay LID.

One resident spoke to the fact that those residents who live on coves have no part in Carman Bay, in terms of where their properties are located. However, another resident on a cove said that many residents in his cove are in support of the LID.

Another resident was opposed to the LID, because the fact that Lake Minnetonka is a public lake and therefore, it’s not just residents that use Carman Bay, therefore it shouldn’t just be residents that pay for it.

Despite the small number of those opposed, most residents provided their support for the establishment of the Carman Bay LID during the public hearing.

Following the public comments, Mayor Walsh brought the discussion back to the Council.

“I think it [LIDs] has been a positive overall,” Walsh said while addressing the history of the LIDs in Lake Minnetonka. “I think it’s a much better way for funding.”

Both Councilmember Wendy Dankey and Councilmember Victoria Seals expressed that they can see both sides of the residents. However, both council members addressed that there is a large majority support for the Carman Bay LID.

Following Council discussion, Seals made a motion to accept the certified petition for the LID establishment, approve the resolution to establish the Carman Bay LID and to appoint the initial board of directors for the Carman Bay LID. The motion was passed by the Council with a 3-0 vote.

The next regular meeting of the Orono City Council will take place on Monday, August 14 in the council chamber at Orono City Hall at 7 p.m.