The Jefferson Township Council has another dam issue to contend with.

The Lake Winona Homeowners Association will be the co-signers, along with the township administrator, of a $708,733 loan from the state Department of Environmental Protection for repair and remediation of the Lake Winona dam. The council unanimously passed a resolution following a brief executive session to discuss the contract.

Council president Debi Merz said the homeowners asked the township to front $10,000 in preliminary engineering costs. The council agreed, and the funds will be repaid when the parties receive the loan. Township administrator James Leach explained that the township will assess the homeowners for the loan repayment. Should a homeowner not repay, a tax lien can be put on the property.

Leach noted that because property owners have not been able to use the beach since 2000, when the state dropped the water level, people have not paid their dues to the association. Therefore, the association does not have sufficient money on hand, necessitating the township as co-signer in order to obtain the funding. He stated that the association holds an easement across a couple of properties at the ends of the dam as access points for working on it, and added that he does not believe the dam is in bad shape.

Vacant, Abandoned, and Foreclosed Properties

The council’s ordinance subcommittee is working on a new ordinance governing township action on vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties. Merz pulled out 11 sample ordinances from other municipalities. Township attorney Larry Cohen said he had worked with the township administrator, zoning officer, and fire official to create a draft ordinance unique to Jefferson.

Eagle Scout Kalen Luciano

On a more festive note, the council honored Eagle Scout Kalen Luciano of Boy Scout Troop 151 in Oak Ridge. His project was refurbishing the pavilion at Camp Jefferson at the recommendation of Grace Rhinesmith, recreation director. Wanting to give back to the camp he had enjoyed during his childhood, Kalen built tables, power-washed the pavilion, and did other work around it. He said that scouting gave him a good direction in life. Merz told him, “You have helped a lot of other youth.”

In September, Kalen will begin his studies at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago. He will double major in journalism and political science and minor in creative writing.

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