STANTON — After several tense meetings between members of the Duck Lake Improvement Board, it seems everything is beginning to fall into order now that board members have reached an agreement on official bylaws.
Board members unanimously agreed to accept official bylaws at Tuesday’s meeting at the Montcalm County Administration Building in Stanton.
Montcalm County Drain Commissioner Sandy Raines, who sits on all 15 lake improvement boards throughout the county, had been critical of the Duck Lake board at the previous meeting, as well as at a recent Crystal Township Board meeting.
Raines had stated she was disappointed with the lake board “because of the rude behavior and inappropriate behavior toward other board members and the public.”
But during Tuesday’s meeting Raines said she believes her concerns have been addressed.
“I’d like to say I appreciate working together now, coming as a whole group,” Raines said. “I’d like to see this continue. We need to continue to work together in meetings.”
Board member Dick Walthorn said although there had been friction between board members, as well as many opposing views, he believes everyone was working toward the benefit of Duck Lake.
“I honestly think everybody has had the interest of everybody in the Duck Lake area at heart,” Walthorn said. “We have different opinions of what’s in the best interest, but I haven’t seen anything that I believe was other than what that individual thought was best for the lake.”
Board members made their mission clear in their new bylaws by defining the board’s purpose as such: “The DLIB was established in 1989 to provide improvements that are necessary and appropriate for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, for the conservation of the natural resources and for the preservation of property values around Duck Lake. The DLIB shall develop an annual weed management plan and implement the plan as finances allow.”
The bylaws also state that officers will be elected by the board at the first meeting of each year to one-year terms, specifying that the chairperson of the board be a property owner in the special assessment district. The other positions will include vice chair, secretary and treasurer.
The bylaws defined that the board will conduct four meetings throughout the year, with two of the meetings occurring in Stanton and two in Crystal Township.
Meetings in January and April will be held at the Montcalm County Administration Building in Stanton at 4 p.m. while a July informational meeting and additional meeting in October will be at the Crystal Community Center at 6 p.m.
After a Nov. 13 resolution by the Crystal Township Board to handle financial responsibilities for the Duck Lake Board failed, a portion of the bylaws to contract with Crystal Township for those responsibilities was stricken.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also voted unanimously to contract with both Restorative Lake Sciences of Spring Lake and S&R Environmental Consulting of St. Charles for the length of one year.
Rather than hire one firm to handle a management plan for the lake, the board accepted to allow both to work together, if they so choose, in order to see immediate and lasting changes to the lake, including weed removal and possible future aeration to the lake.
Board members amended the motion to define Restorative Lake Sciences as the consultant and S&R Environmental Consulting as the applicator.
Restorative Lake Sciences, which currently manages 65 lakes in Michigan, agreed to offer their services at a fee of $7,500 per year, which will include a survey of the lake bottom for all aquatic vegetation, determining weed size and locations, a newsletter for property owners around the lake, and additional services.
S&R Environmental Consulting, which currently manages more than 80 lakes in Michigan, agreed to offer their services at a fee of 3,850 per year, with $5490 coming in the first year with the added expense of a development plan.
S&R Environmental Consulting will use herbicides to control weeds throughout and around the lake.
A decision to elect board officers was tabled until the board’s January meeting, the first meeting of 2014, to follow in accordance with the new bylaws.