Posted on January 16, 2023
After a millage proposal for recreation and dredging was narrowly defeated in November, Lake Isabella voters will be asked to approve a scaled-back proposal that will focus solely on restoration efforts.
Community leaders – Lake Isabella has a village council and the private Lake Isabella Property Owners Association – are working on presenting the new request to voters this year, which would restore and improve the recreational use of the lake and would fight invasive species, Village Manager Tim Wolff said.
Created in the 1960s, Lake Isabella is an impoundment of the Chippewa River on land that was farm fields in western Isabella County, and acts as a catch basin for sediment and runoff from upstream.
The last dredging took place in the 1990s, and the community has more than doubled in size, with nearly 2,000 residents.
Demands on the lake are greater now than ever before, Wolff said.
Because the village has a property owners association that has historically been tasked with taking care of the lake and holds the deed to the lake bottom, Wolff said.
Because of the anticipated cost of completing a large-scale dredging work, coupled with the benefits of restoring the lake, LIPOA and village are working together in the effort, Wolff said.
Building off efforts from past ballot proposals, the village council and LIPOA have started refining the previous dredging plan with more detailed cost estimates and a tentative schedule of what areas of the lake bottom will be addressed if voters approve the funding, according to Wolff.
A joint committee of representatives from the village and LIPOA is doing the planning work, and would be charged by the village council with the oversight and planning of the work.
Both LIPOA and the village council received feedback from residents after the November proposal was rejected by 34 votes, and in response are accepting applications from residents who want to serve on the joint committee.
The committee will consist of nine members; three from the village, three from LIPOA, and three community members.
Anyone interested can complete an application for appointment on the village’s website, www.lakeisabellami.org.
The committee is scheduled to begin its work early next month, with meeting dates posted on the website.