MSTU FUNDS IN JEOPARDY
Water quality threatened
Volunteers’ time and money undermined
Continuing efforts to maintain the water quality and clarity of Lake Holden could be in GREAT JEOPARDY!! During the November WAB meeting, EPD gave notice that one or more residents that live within the MSTU boundary intends to petition Orange County to allow all properties that DO NOT HAVE lakefront or access to Lake Holden to secede from the MSTU. Currently, it is too early in the process to guess the number of properties, dollar amount or the probability of their success. After a brief discussion, the Water Advisory Board unanimously voted to officially and aggressively oppose the secession process.
When announced at the November POA meeting some residents were appalled and wanted to know why someone would think of such an action. Most sat straight up in their chairs and readied themselves for a clash in the likes of the FDOT/Edgewood battle.
The POA and WAB are a tremendously organized, extremely connected, well established team with a track record of success against proponents much more powerful than a handful of residents attempting to disassociate themselves with this movement. The POA has over 90 members who actively volunteer their time throughout the year for things like labeling storm drains, planting plants in the lake, building and installing wood duck houses, planning, organizing and executing the annual functions. If they are willing to do that, just think what they will do if their efforts are threatened. There are dozens of POA members that would think nothing of writing a $1,000.00 check (or more) to preserve the water quality of Lake Holden.
MSTU participants know what Lake Holden looked like 10-15 years ago, recognize that the value of their property has increased because of their contribution to the MSTU, and can appreciate that it is a small price to pay for a beautiful lake. They know that Lake Holden’s water quality depends on funds from the MSTU. Also, they know that if there is a reduction of contribution to the MSTU, the water quality will proportionally decline and shortly thereafter so will the value of their homes.
This petition includes only those without access to the Lake. If you are a lakefront property owner or your home has access to a boat ramp, you cannot secede. You will have a vote to approve or deny their request. Lakefront property owners and those who have lake access need to vote NO and deny the petitioners’ request to change the boundaries of the MSTU. Denying their request will assure future continuation of water quality improvement of Lake Holden.
The petitioners should take notice that they will be in for a long-haul battle. They should know that secession was tried before and FAILED miserably. The proponents alienated themselves from their neighbors and exhausted themselves spending time perusing legal loopholes that just were not there. They stirred such a hornet’s nest that EPD, County Attorney, County Commissioner, County Finance, and a boat load of private attorneys became involved!
The petitioners chose to move into the sub-basin of Lake Holden, knowing that their tax records clearly listed the MSTU contribution. What they do not understand is that by relinquishing their responsibility to participate in rectifying their contribution to the degradation of the lake with storm water runoff, yard debris, lawn fertilizer, automobile discharge, septic tanks etc. will undermine the hard work that the volunteers who have spent countless hours and an extraordinary amount of money to improve the water quality of Lake Holden. They should think long and hard about what they are trying to accomplish. We are.
Lake Holden Water Advisory Board