Residents of Lake Redstone gave the OK for the lakes protection district to move forward with its dredging project at a special voters meeting May 18 at the Cal Center in Reedsburg.
Voters approved 284-59 for the Lake Redstone Protection District to borrow $3.7 million to cover the costs of the company bid and contingency fee to remove 95,000 cubic yards of sediment from 25 bays around the lake and to levy the amount needed for the lake’s protection district to pay back the loan. Voters also approved for the protection district to enter into contracts with the lowest possible bidder, Kaiyuh Services/Water Works Marine, to execute the project.
Lake Redstone Protection District Chairman Mike Mittelstadt said in a May 20 follow up interview the protection district is pleased voters approved the project.
“We did a lot of hard work and the hard work was recognized,” Mittelstadt said.
Kaiyuh Services submitted the lowest bid at $3.3 million. Other bids for the project came from Dredgit Environmental Corporation at $4.8 million and Newt Marine Services at $6.3 million. The financial impact could increase the general tax levy by $4.2 million over 10 years, or $426,308 per year. It would equal an estimated tax increase of $182 on a $100,000 home or $547 on a $300,000 home. Mittelstadt said the current tax rate is $25 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The total amount is a decrease from $7 million originally predicted from estimates the board received last year, when the bids were rejected to look at potential cost saving options. The protection district decreased the project amount by about $2 million over the last ten months by consulting with contractors, having more flexibility in the project’s timeline, adding additional sediment disposal sites and allowing for mechanical and hydraulic dredging. According to Dredge America website, mechanical dredging involves heavy equipment and may or may not involve draining the lake while hydraulic dredging uses devices floating on water to pump sediment through pipelines disposing it at an offsite location.
The next steps include entering into a contract with Kaiyuh Services to mechanically dredge the 25 bays, securing a loan for the project and pursing funding sources to help with costs. Dredging is scheduled to begin the week after July 4 and completed in October. The project plans to remove sediment one bay at a time and the dredging process could vary depending on how much sediment is in each bay. Access to the bay will not be granted when the bay is being dredged, Mittelstadt said.
“Once they are done with that bay we’ll open the bay back up and they can use it as normal,” Mittelstadt said.
The protection district plans to mechanically dredge 25 bays around the lake. Six residential properties around the lake will be used as disposal sites to dump the mucky substance once it is removed from the lake. The last time Lake Redstone was dredged was 1983, when 10 bays were dredged.
Mittelstadt said removing sediment helps improve boats navigate its way through bays. He said if sediment is not removed, it could decrease property values of the homes around Lake Redstone by an estimated 10% over a ten year period and continue to decline.
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“Because if we didn’t dredge, the lake would have a bad reputation and people wouldn’t want to move here,” Mittelstadt said. “If all those bays fill in and become swamp land no one is going to want to live on it.”
Additional funding options
The 95,000 cubic yards of sediment includes dredging the estimated 31,000 cubic yards washed into the lake from the 2018 floods. The Lake Redstone Protection District could receive an estimated $875,000 in funding if its application is approved by FEMA.
Mittelstadt said if the voters didn’t approve the project, the protection district would’ve withdrawn its application for FEMA assistance because removing the sediment would not have been addressed as an immediate need for assistance.
“Because FEMA is disaster relief and we are going to address the problem immediately we can still move forward with our claim,” he said. “(FEMA) said if the vote was negative we would’ve had to withdraw our claim and this is our only opportunity to make a claim on the 2018 flood.”
Mittelstadt said the documents are going through final review for submission to FEMA officials. It could take about three to four months for the protection district to receive an answer on possible funds, he said.
The protection district is also looking into requesting funds from the DNR channel grant, private and business donations to possibly lower the levy. The protection district is also approaching officials from the county board, state officials and Town of La Valle about potential contributions from its budget cycles.
“We’ll go talk to all those people and see if we can try and get into their budget cycles,” Mittelstadt said.
Additional information on Lake Redstone’s Dredging Project can be found on its website www.lakeredstonepd.org.