(Port Orchard, WA) – Today, property owners rejected a proposal to fund lake management activities through a Long Lake management district. The proposal failed to reach the simple majority of votes to approve: 20,862 votes in support to 22,422 against (48.2 percent to 51.8 percent).
Long Lake suffers from water-quality issues that expand aquatic vegetation and increases outbreaks of toxic blue-green algae, which is a health hazard to humans, pets and wildlife. These blooms have led to several closures of Long Lake and are projected to continue increasing in frequency over time.
Through an election of property owners, forming the lake management district would have imposed annual assessments on property owners within the Long Lake Management District boundary to conduct lake maintenance activities over the next 10 years. These activities, previously shown successful from 2006 to 2010 through funding from Washington state, would have included water-quality testing, alum treatments and vegetation removal.
“Kitsap County wanted to allow the property owners to decide whether a lake management district is best for their community,” said Board Chair Charlotte Garrido. “The results show they believe it is not. Kitsap County, through Clean Water Kitsap and the Kitsap Public Health District, will continue working to improve stormwater runoff and other discharges into Long Lake, though these efforts alone will likely not address these growing health issues.”
Per state statutes, the election was of the property owners within the proposed district, with each property receiving votes equal to the dollars of their proposed assessment. The proposed fees for property owners with lineal feet of shoreline were $252 per parcel (252 votes), those with special lake access $144 (144 votes), and those in close proximity to the lake’s facilities $50 (50 votes).
Ballots were mailed to each property located within the proposed district. Property owners were required to return ballots between Nov. 14 and Dec. 11, 2014. Of the 634 that were distributed, 274 were returned by the deadline – a 43 percent turnout. The ballots were tabulated Dec. 16 through a process open to the public.