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White Lake Board of Commissioners Conducts Business In-Person, Approves Budget

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By Joy Warren

After meeting over a year via virtual Zoom meetings, the Town of White Lake Board of Commissioners met in-person this evening to conduct their regular business session. After a public hearing with no citizen comments, the Board approved the Proposed FY 2021-2022 Budget ($3,841,543).

The monthly report provided by Dr. Diane Lauritsen on the Lake water quality painted a much clearer picture this month than the February – April reports.

“White Lake experienced winter algae blooms, because of the fertilizing effects of big rains,” Lauritsen reported. “The lake greens up because the algae teams are successfully competing for the nutrients which fuel their growth. When their growth is very rapid, the pH of the lake water can increase. At the height of the bloom in late April, the pH had increased 2+ units. The nutrient management done by algae created a virtual environment for the tiny creatures who like to dine on algae. The increased nutrients were effectively processed by the natural lake life. The improved lake clarity and substantially lower pH that we are seeing now are clear signals that the bloom has run its course. The natural algae nutrient management that has taken place this year is clearly preferable [to an Alum treatment], with a better outcome. White Lake is a dynamic ecosystem because of its shallowness and relatively small size. Because of the ongoing monitoring efforts, we can discern what changes are natural (=normal) and how the system is managing itself. Human management efforts should focus on reducing human-caused impacts to the lake.”

Shannon Brattebo and Dr. Harry Gibbons with Tetra Tech (Alum Treatment company) also responded with their recommendations to the Town. “We recommend that the Town of White Lake continue its on-going water quality monitoring efforts and phytoplankton analysis. We also recommend that a paleolimnological study be conducted on the sediments of the lake. This study would provide a greater understanding of how productive the lake was naturally, prior to human influences and acid rain. This study would also provide insight regarding shifts in the phytoplankton community throughout time and provide a greater understanding of ‘background’ or ‘natural’ conditions that could be used to develop management goals.” More information can be found at www.whitelakewatch.com.

Updates were provided for the Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project. Work is continuing on Fayetteville Street. The sewer main replacement work is expected to be completed by the end of June or early July. The beginning construction on Phase 2 is October.

In other administrative matters, the Board approved the May utility releases ($1323.29), tax releases ($722.70), tax refunds ($568.90); released the delinquent utility accounts as presented; released the 2010 uncollected ad valorem taxes as presented; called for a public hearing on Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments at July 13th meeting; approved amended contract to audit accounts; adopted resolution to receive Federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; and approved budget ordinance amendments.

The municipal complex will be closed Monday, July 5th in observance of Independence Day. A public works employee will be on call to respond to any water/sewer emergencies.

During the open forum, Hope Campbell with Camp Clearwater read and presented a letter to the Board expressing their sincere gratitude and appreciation to Officer Bert Harris for excellence in carrying out his duties. In late May, Officer Harris was nearby when he received and swiftly responded to a call of concern at Camp Clearwater. Mrs. Campbell stated “His quick action, clear, calm thinking, training and instinct led him to make split-second, life-altering decisions that protected the peace and well-being of many. Officer Harris’ bravery and wisdom helped to de-escalate a serious situation.”

The Board adjourned into closed session to discuss the contracts for LIMNOSCIENCES AND Spirogyra Diversified Environmental Services for Lake Management Services.

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