Sparks fly at City Council Meeting about Lake Mitchell Dredge

Sparks flew at the city council meeting regarding the dredging Lake Mitchell. The proposed project to remove sediment that has accumulated over the years from Lake Mitchell sparked an intense debate among those present. The dredging project was deemed necessary by the proponents to improve water quality and restore habitats as well as increase recreational opportunities. Opponents, on the other hand raised concerns over the environmental impact, cost and disruption of wildlife. As both sides passionately defend their positions, emotions ran high. This led to intense arguments and heated debates.

The discussion reached a boiling point when local fishermen, whose livelihoods heavily depend on the lake, expressed their strong opposition to dredging. The fishermen argued that the dredging project would disturb the ecosystem’s natural balance, which in turn would affect fish populations and their businesses. The tensions escalated when council members tried addressing their concerns. A heated exchange lasted hours. The meeting ended with no clear consensus. This left the decision on the Lake Mitchell Dredge in the air as both sides pledged to continue their battle in future council and public hearings.

At the latest Mitchell City Council meeting, the question of when to start a project for cleaning Lake Mitchell was debated. Some worry that the vote scheduled for next summer will be too late.

The 25 million dollar loan would be used for dredging Lake Mitchell. It has had algae blooms in the lake for many decades.

The community was unsure of the timeline for taking action. Some council members wanted a special election in September, while others wanted a vote in June 2024.

Marty Barington, a council member, questioned the consequences of pushing the issue to the future.

“Another eight months of dead time is just that much more – this thing is gonna die,” Barrington said. “If the public is all for it, then we need to find out yes or no, sooner than later, and it helps out with budget for us through September 19, so if it does happen to fall to the public, we need to take different action.”

There are less than two million dollars in the city’s existing lake fund. This total raised red flags for Mike Bathke, a councilmember.

“I just don’t understand how we didn’t save more money – we knew this was coming for how many years, and we don’t have more money than that? I did second this motion to change the date for the election because I haven’t sat through a budget hearing yet,” Bathke said. “I want to know where the city is at. It just baffles me that we haven’t saved more money. We’ve been talking about this in my notes for ten years.”

The question of a date for the vote was a contentious issue, as Mayor Bob Everson and Council President Kevin McCardle traded barbs in the meeting. McCardle claimed he didn’t receive accurate information about the timeline for a possible vote.

Mitchell voters have the final say on the project’s fate, but the vote will not be taken until June 2024.