Council votes to start pumping water into the lake

By Tim Hibbs
Our Community News
Published March 10, 2005

… Awake the Lake

Chairman Jeff Hulsmann said the committee had raised $3,134.75 in donations without actively campaigning for funds to fill Palmer Lake. He circulated a mockup of a flyer intended for distribution to all residents, asking for a voluntary contribution of $2 per month or $25 per year. He noted that most of the work had been done to secure the committee’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit entity, which would all contributions made toward replenishment of the lake’s water level tax deductible.

[Trustee] Parker asked if the county had committed any Parks and Recreation funds toward the effort. Hulsmann said that such requests are presented to the county’s Park Advisory Board, and their recommendations are then submitted to the county commissioners for final consideration. He said that the committee’s request for funds was already on the advisory board’s agenda for its April meeting.

In response to questions from the audience, he stated that the ballot sent to the 815 town resident connected to the public water system was designed to show both sides of the question about filling the lake. McDonald added that this was a deliberate decision to evoke citizen participation in the issue and to provide guidance for the council. She said that the council wanted the townspeople to determine the council’s course of action.

Hulsmann added that the ballots returned constituted over 25 percent of those distributed, a very high return rate for questionnaires of this nature. Of those, 177 voted to proceed with filling the lake and 38 voted against.

[Trustee] Parker stated that the lake’s appearance and utility were not the town’s “pet projects”; Palmer Lake is the town’s namesake and a primary attraction to the town.
Hulsmann then asked the council for authorization to start pumping water into the lake. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis advised that although the ballot only represented a straw poll, its results could be taken into account during a vote.

Trustee Chuck Cornell stated that the cost for the water would be determined by charging for the electricity and chemicals needed to get the water to the lake, plus a 10 percent addition to cover administrative costs and pump and infrastructure maintenance. He stated that the cost would be somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000 for the 30 acre-feet of water required for the project.

When discussion ended, [Trustee] Parker moved to authorize the committee to begin pumping up to 30 acre-feet of water into the lake under the cost proposal outlined by Cornell. The motion was offered as Resolution 2-2005, and was seconded by Cornell. Trustee Gary Coleman, Cornell, Flake Parker and Sumner voted for the motion. McDonald voted against to support the 38 ballot respondents who had voted against the issue. … [missing]