Canadian County help sought to control lake algae

Commissioners hope to empower Lakehoma residents to maintain large ponds

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District 2 Canadian County Commissioner Dave Anderson

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Canadian County Commissioners have been asked to help control algae growth at county owned lakes in Mustang.

The lakes, in the Lakehoma Addition, became property of Canadian County in 1977 when the developers stopped paying taxes. The county took possession through the delinquent tax process.

“Over the years, the county has continued to own this property,” District 2 County Commissioner Dave Anderson said. “There are actually two lakes – referred to our north lake and our south lake.”

County commissioners, not wishing to set a precedent, want to empower the people who live around the lakes to maintain the bodies of water.

Commissioners took no action at their weekly meeting July 6 on a proposed service agreement to control algae growth at these Mustang lakes.

Commissioner Anderson, of Mustang, grew up in this neighborhood which he said developed in 1960 “before Mustang was a city.” The development does not have a homeowners’ association or active committee.

“I was asked (by residents) to look into a way to control the algae,” Anderson told fellow county commissioners.

The District 2 commissioner obtained a quote from TurnPro Aquatics to control the algae growth in both lakes – an initial $800 one-time fee and then $700 monthly for nine months.

The algae issue has grown in recent years and gets worse in the late spring and all summer, 52-year Lakehoma homeowner Don Kortemier told commissioners.

The geese population around the lakes also has created a nuisance.

Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries has advised commissioners against entering into this type of service agreement because Canadian County owns many properties acquired through delinquent tax sales.

“He did caution me about what kind of precedence we would set,” Commissioner Anderson noted.

Four years ago, District 2 crews did install a new drainage structure and provided maintenance on a dam that serves as a road separating the two large ponds in the addition.

‘SIMPLE SOLUTION’?

District 41 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader, R-Piedmont

District 41 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, authored legislation that gives county officials discretion and addresses issues that arise when counties take ownership of properties due to unpaid taxes.

Rep. Hader’s husband, District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader, offered a “simple” solution to the Lakehoma issue – property owners could create a homeowners’ association to purchase and maintain the lakes.

“We do have a quandary in that we have other properties that we’ve acquired (due to back taxes) that we don’t take action on,” Hader pointed out. “If we take action in this regard, it may create a liability.

“I’d like to empower you (homeowners) to decide what’s best for your community.”

Commissioner Anderson spoke with the county’s legal advisor about a way to empower adjoining property owners to decide how to maintain the lakes, whether through a homeowners’ resolution or commissioners’ resolution.

Official documents establishing the Mustang housing development were signed by many of the city’s founding fathers.

“It said that the ‘enjoyment of the lakes shall be for the members of this quarter section’,” Anderson shared. “There was an intent for the public to enjoy those lakes. And I want to continue that.

“I learned to swim in that body of water.”

As a possible compromise, County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart suggested having the county pay the initial $800 fee and first month’s $700 cost.

Commissioners at their July 6th meeting did not provide a final resolution to Lakehoma algae problem but agreed to help empower homeowners to find a solution.

THIS AND THAT …

In other business at their July 6th meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:

  • An agreement authorizing the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program in Canadian County and a resolution for the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) to help administer the program. CPACE provides capital “up front” for private sector loans on commercial buildings, INCOG air quality program manager Nancy Graham explained. Loans are repaid through long-term liens on the buildings.
  • A resolution declaring a portion of the Reformatory Road section line abandoned along the west boundary of Crimson Lake Estates Phase 2 in El Reno.
  • An agreement with United Systems for monthly information technology (IT) infrastructure support for some county offices and district shops.
  • The Town of Union City’s nomination of T.J. McCullough as trustee and S. Elaine McCollum as alternate trustee on the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority (OEMA) board.
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