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Chicagon Lake permit issue causes controversy

August 15, 2012
By NIKKI YOUNK - Staff Writer , The Daily News

CRYSTAL FALLS - Stambaugh Township's controversial ordinance that requires all boaters on Chicagon Lake to purchase permit stickers continues to be an issue not just on the township level, but on the county level as well.

Funds from the permit sales go toward the control of milfoil in Chicagon Lake. Boaters can purchase daily, annual, and three-year permits.

Permit costs are as follows:

- For individuals who own shoreline property, a daily permit for small craft is $5, a daily permit for large craft is $10, a one-year permit for small craft is $20, a one-year permit for large craft is $30, a three-year permit for small craft is $50, and a three-year permit for large craft is $75.

- For individuals who do not own shoreline property, a daily permit for small craft is $5, a daily permit for large craft is $10, a one-year permit for small craft is $30, a one-year permit for large craft is $40, a three-year permit for small craft is $75, and a three-year permit for large craft is $100.

If a boater does not comply with the ordinance and purchase a permit, he or she is subject to a citation from the township.

Earlier this year, the Iron County Board of Commissioners agreed to allow Stambaugh Township to install an informational sign and sell permits at the county-owned boat landing in Pentoga Park. The board was firm in its decision that it would not become further involved with the ordinance.

During the board's Tuesday meeting, Board Chair Wayne Wales said the county has been getting numerous complaints about the ordinance.

"I've heard from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), fishermen, and park staff," he said. "The county wasn't supposed to be involved, but we are involved."

Commissioner Bev Camp added that she has also heard concerns from county residents.

"They feel like they're being harassed," she said. "People are questioning why they're being ticketed when their boats are just parked at the campsite."

Stambaugh Township Supervisor Eugene Pellizzaro said that he is the only person who has been issuing citations to boaters who did not purchase permits.

"It's just like parking," he explained. "If you don't have a permit, you get a ticket."

Attorney Steve Polich pointed out some positive aspects of the ordinance. He said that so far, the township has raised $11,000 in permit sales. Some of that money went toward eliminating approximately 17 acres of milfoil near the boat landing.

Wales told Polich that the board is not supporting milfoil, it is just worried about the legality of the ordinance and the concerns of residents.

Commissioner Carl Lind made a motion for the board to take no action at this time and review the issue at the end of the year.

The board approved.

In other business, the board:

- Approved the 2011 audit report.

CPA Kevin Pascoe informed that board that the county's net assets for 2011 totaled $1.6 million, which is an increase of $691,000 from 2010. He added that the county's general fund had $4.7 million in revenues and $4.6 million in expenditures.

"It was a financially positive year," said Pascoe.

However, the board noted that some departments, such as Central Dispatch, had deficits. Deficits were covered through general fund transfers.

- Agreed to increase the county's contribution to the Northwoods Animal Shelter by $250 per month for the remainder of 2012. The increase will bring the county's total contribution per month to $1,375.

Lind said that the finance committee will look at raising the contribution even more for the 2013 budget.

- Heard from Polich that the Iron County Medical Care Facility has awarded all of the bids for its expansion project. Work on the project is currently under way.

Polich added that there will be a formal ground breaking ceremony at some point in the future.

- Approved the revised tax sharing agreement with the city of Caspian and the Caspian Downtown Development Authority.

- Hired Cynthia Ricker as the accounting clerk for the Iron County Construction Code office.

- Added Lisa Masnova as the new Freedom of Information Act Coordinator.

- Awarded a prize to courthouse employee Sue Strahan for contributing the winning photo in the county's plat book cover photo contest.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.

 
 

 

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